Canada’s Food Inspection Agency has a different set of rules to America’s Food and Drug Administration. And in this country, our food rules, while some claim to be too strict, also differ from other countries including the UK. By now you’ve heard of the ruckus raised when shipments of British treats were turned away at the border. But before you get your cookies in a crumb, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says that it was one shipment containing meat products bound for Saskatoon without proper documentation that was turned back. Other products however contain additives and preservatives that are known allergen inciters or worse! Here are a few that are banned in Canada, and you’ll be happy they are.
Irn-Bru, the massively popular Scottish soda, is allowed into Canada only when it’s the Canadian formulation. The offending Ponceau 4R, an artificial colorant, has been cited as the culprit for it’s purported ban. The red dye is said to cause hyperactivity and possibly instigate asthma attacks. It sounds like Canadian formulated Irn-Bru may not contain this colorant but beware because it’s also found in jelly, dessert toppings, cake mixes, pie fillings and even salami.
It’s likely you’ve taken a big bite of bromide if you’ve tucked into a hamburger sitting on a fluffy bun or a hot dog because it’s often used in bread. Potassium bromate is added to wheat flour to help dough hold together and rise higher, but studies have linked the additive as a cause of damage to the kidneys and nervous system and tumours. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as a carcinogen, possibly cancerous to humans. The FDA in the US however allows it, so look for it in commercially baked goods, particularly specialty buns.
Olestra (or Olean) was created as a calorie and cholesterol-free fat substitute. It’s often used in the making of chips and fries, particularly Ruffles Light and Lay’s WOW chips. These have both been banned in Canada and the UK as Olestra has been known to cause adverse reactions to those who eat it, including cramping and diarrhea.
The FDA allows the use of the bovine growth hormone, rBST to increase milk production in the US. rBST however, has thankfully not been approved for use here in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel or the EU. The hormone has been linked to breast, colorectal and prostrate cancers. If you’re concerned about ingesting US hormone-tainted milk in say yoghurt, ice cream or other dairy products (where it can show up), buy organic to avoid the headache.
TBHQ or Tertiary Butylhydroquinone is a chemical used to prolong the shelf life of packaged foods and is made from (drum roll please): coal tar and butane. Both of these are petroleum derivatives. Found in anything from cookies, cereals, cosmetics, granola bars and pre-packaged chicken nuggets, TBHQ has been known to mimic estrogen, cause DNA damage, tinnitus, delirium and vomiting.