Additives to Avoid
There are over 300 food additives available for use in food in Australia, some of which are safe, some of which are suspected carcinogens and many of which have adverse health effects.
The use of food additives in Australia is governed by the Food Standards Code and regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). If an ingredient is approved for use in Australia it is apparently considered ‘safe’. Surprisingly, there are many food additives permitted for use in Australia when their use is limited or banned in many overseas countries.
Food additives have been associated with a range of food intolerance symptoms including headaches, gastric irritation, behavioural disorders, learning difficulty and skin rashes and asthma symptoms. Food intolerance symptoms are dose related and children are more susceptible because, dose for weight they consumer a higher amount of food chemicals than adults.
Some children will react immediately to an obvious food intolerance trigger such as hyperactivity from bright food colouring or an asthma attack from sulphites, however the effects of the consumption of food additives may not always be immediate and may manifest in many ways and people may not always make the connection. It is the long-term cumulative, subtle effects of additives in our diets that we need to be concerned about. For more information visit www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info.au
How can additives be avoided?
Below is a list of additives to avoid, and a downloadable card to print out and keep handy while shopping.
Artificial Colours and Flavours – The worst offenders are listed below but the easiest and safest way is to take a blanket approach and avoid them all, look for products that say ‘No artificial colours or flavours’
Know the types of foods to look for – The list below names the additive and suggests the types of foods they may be in. Foods are often thought of as healthy such as dried fruits, juices, baked goods and cured meats contain harmful additives. When you are familiar with the types of foods to look for it will become much easier to identify and avoid the additives.
Antioxidants, aren’t they good for us? - There are naturally occurring antioxidants that are beneficial to our health but the numbers listed below are for synthetic antioxidants. They are often found in oils and fats and may be listed as an ingredient in the oil.
Involve the Kids – Kids love knowledge, don’t just tell them they can’t have a product, show them the numbers in it that you are avoiding and before long you will have your own little supermarket rangers that will be able to ‘spot the number’ before you can.
Additives to Avoid
102, 104, 107, 110, 122, 123, 124, 127, 129, 132, 133, 142, 143, 151, 153, 155, 160b (Annatto), 173, 174, 175
Preservatives and examples of foods they are in.
Cheese and cheese based products, dips, drinks.200, 201, 202, 203
Soft drinks, cordials, medicine210, 211, 212, 213, 216, 218
Dried fruits, cordials, juices and processed meats.220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227,228
Cured & processed meats (ham, bacon, hotdogs). They are prohibited for use in food for infants (under 12 months).249, 250, 251, 252
Bread and bakery products280, 281, 282, 283
All, they don’t have numbers
Flavoured chips, corn chips, pop corn, flavoured savoury biscuits, instant noodle sachets, vegetable spreads.
620-625 Glutames inc
Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame 951
Fat Hydrogenated or Trans Fats
Often in oils and fats, baked goods, muesli and snack bars, biscuits and peanut butter.310, 311, 312, 319, 320, 321, 385
Gums– Cakes, slices, muffins, smoothies407, 466 Anti-caking agents/ Emulsifiers 431, 433, 435, 436, 530, 553, 900, 914 Miscellaneous 943a, 950, 952, 954, 1201, 1520, 1521