WASHINGTON – WTOP reported Wednesday that some of the ingredients in American foods like cereals, mac and cheese and sodas are banned outside of the U.S.
While the ingredients are banned in some places internationally, some of the information in the Yahoo article that WTOP cited, which was sourced from the book “Rich Food Poor Food,” is being contested in an NPR article, particularly the concept that the ingredients are still used in toxic, dangerous amounts in American food.
Babble.com and Buzzfeed wrote about the book’s claims, including that certain sodas contain brominated vegetable oil and that Olestra is commonly used in low-fat or no-fat snack foods. According to those two articles, brominated vegetable oil has been banned because of its links to thyroid diseases and Olestra has been banned because it causes gastrointestinal problems.
NPR has disputed those and other claims. For instance, bromine is a very toxic substance, but the kind in vegetable oil is very different on a chemical level and its toxicity is related to how much a person consumes, according to NPR’s article.
In addition, NPR reports that Proctor & Gamble gave up on Olestra as a fat substitute, and only a few fat-free potato chips on the market still use it as an ingredient.
The book that started the dispute was written by Dr. Jayson Calton and Mira Calton and published in February. The BuzzFeed article that used it as a source went viral, according to NPR, generating more than 4 million page views.