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Saturday, December 09, 2023

It is a well-known fact that our food here in the U.S. is pumped full of additives such as coloring agents and preservatives. Most Americans believe that these additives are needed to keep food from spoiling too fast. Many Americans, however, lack the knowledge of how harmful these additives can be. In fact, many additives considered safe in the U.S. are actually banned in other nations because of their toxicity. I am writing to you today in order to raise public awareness of this expanding problem that the U.S. faces. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in charge of regulating and approving the chemicals that are allowed to be in our food. I believe it is the FDA’s responsibility to further investigate the chemicals that it has approved in the past.

To begin, it is important to note that many companies use additives simply to make their product look more appealing. The additives in these products serve no function other than to complement their texture, color and even aroma in certain cases. Coloring agents such as Red 40 and Yellow 6 are readily used in the U.S. but are banned in nations such as the United Kingdom, Austria and Norway. Many coloring agents have been linked to cell deterioration, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and even cancer. Another additive that has been shown to cause damage to the human body is potassium bromate. Potassium bromate is used to make the manufacturing process for baked goods simpler; it not only aids in the baking process by minimizing the baking time of the product, but it also makes the process a lot cheaper. Potassium bromate has been banned as an additive in Brazil, China and Canada because it has been shown to increase the risk of cancer, kidney disorders and neurological problems. The most shocking additive used in the United States was found in chicken meat in 2015 studies by the FDA and goes by the common name of arsenic. Arsenic is widely known as a poison, yet the FDA, before 2015, allowed it to be in chicken feed as a form of pest control.

The FDA is responsible for regulating what is allowed in our food, yet it allows so many toxic and harmful chemicals to be added simply to make the product more desirable. The FDA believes that the chemicals it approves add some benefit to the product. However, it is important to understand the difference between a want and a necessity. It is much more important to have safe food than to have appealing food; for this reason, I call on the FDA to make stricter guidelines on food additives. I call on the students here at UF to inform themselves on the food they are consuming.

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