Thursday, February 12, 2009

Food additives

I don't normally worry or care much about food additives. But lately, there's one that has got me flummoxed. Silicon dioxide. Which happens to be the same stuff that is in the packets in jacket pockets, purses, shoes that say "Do Not Eat" and "Throw Away." So I'm told.

So, I pull out the chili powder and see silicon dioxide after which in parentheses it says "anti-caking agent." So, I'm thinking, hunh?

Maybe the manufacturers think the amount they put in the spices or powdered mixes is not much. But why do the little packets from your purses and shoes say, Do Not Eat? Those are never very big packets. How much of the chili powder will I eat to be equivalent to the packets in my jacket? We eat quite a bit of it, usually using 3 T in our chili batches. Which we make quite often in the winter. Me, Mr. Wild and WC 1&2 all eat it. So, I'm thinking that can't be good. Why in the world, if the packets in goods, like purses and shoes, say do not eat, and then it is added to our food? Yeah, seemed weird to me, too, maybe stupid.

So it gets me thinking, maybe I don't want to buy stuff with that in it? And I'm thinking, do we, as consumers, really care that our sprinkling of spices doesn't cake? So, I check other packages for anti-caking agents. Grated parmesan like Kraft, that sits on the shelf instead of the refrigerated section. They use cellulose. Um, is that paper then? Or tree bits? The taco seasoning mix uses tricalcium phospate. Which apparently, according to wikipedia, can be used occasionally as an antacid. With tacos that might not be so bad.

But still, I ask again, do we as consumers really need our powdered stuff not to cake? Because I would be perfectly happy to pound the container or package on the counter until it separates itself and then sprinkle it in whatever, or on whatever.

I guess I'm getting to be more of a label reader. I am finding that you can find stuff without the MSG and other things if you just read a label and pick a different brand. I also avoid high fructose corn syrup if I can. Mostly, it takes making things from scratch to avoid most additives. So pull out your cookbooks and give those recipes a try again. I'm not overly cautious, but I am more cautious than I used to be.

Happy hunting.


Aliceson said...

My father in law works at a cheese factory. I know shocking in WI right? Anyhow, they shred big blocks of sheese and bag it up in those small resealable packages, and they use A LOT of anti-caking agents (mostly flour) to keep the cheese from becoming lumpy. That why those bags of shredded cheese always look dry. I usually buy a big chunk and shred my own, but spices? And speaking if MSG, I saw a bag of monosodium glutamate in the grocery store on the shelf with the Asian foods. WTF? I though that stuff was outlawed, and there was a 2 pound bag of it at the store. Scary stuff.

Momma Bear said...

I think it's awesome that you are reading labels. I too am doing this more avidly now. Maybe if enough moms do this and complain and stick to homemade then perhaps they'll reconsider.
Saw your comments over at A Res For Six thought I come over and check you out. Anything with the word naked in it deserves to be visited...hah!

christine said...

I agree... don't eat that crap. I was cautious before moving out of the states, and now I've been brute forced into not using packaged stuff (there's just not so much available here). And I'm so glad for it. Once you get in the groove, it's not too tough to live without the boxed stuff.

Teri said...

And here I was wondering if I was the only one that wasn't a part of some hippy green mom kind of club that was avoiding those things...processed food = fail.

Rhea said...

reading labels can be scary. And enlightening. And scary.

I'm part of the SITS Welcome Wagon! I've been a member since last summer, and I've read so many fun blogs and met so many amazing women through SITS. Welcome aboard!

Eudea-Mamia said...

With one food allergy kiddo and one PKU kiddo - labels are my BFFs.

I hate to cook from scratch, but it has become a necessary evil in this house. Thanks for the heads up on the silicon - yuck.