Friday, February 1, 2008

pass the j-e-l-l-o, just not the green stuff.

I recently discovered that one of Csilla's favourite treats - green jello - contains a harmful food colouring called Tartrazine. Usually I'm a good mom and try to give Csilla the healthiest organic and homemade treats I can make, but she just loves certain not-so-good-for-her things and green jello was one of them.

Csilla is the sweetest, most even-tempered kid on the planet. The only reason she ever gets cranky is when she's tired or hungry and these two things happen at very predictable times of day.

When she routinely started getting hyper and cranky after eating green jello I began to wonder.

Wikipedia can explain what Tartrazine is better than I can, but basically it's really bad stuff. Tartrazine is a synthetic food colouring derived from tar coal - yes, tar coal - yuck! It's yellow in colour and can be combined with Brilliant Blue FCF (also a synthetic derivative of tar coal) or Green S (also a synthetic derivative of tar coal) to make various shades of green.

It's banned for use in Norway and has been linked to hyperactivity in children. I think it should be banned in Canada too.

Brilliant Blue 133 is also horrible stuff and not recommend for consumption by children. It is banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Ahem. Canada? Green S is no better.

And while we're on the subject, Sodium Benzoate is another harmful food additive that has been linked to all sorts of hyperactivity problems in children.

These are just a couple of dangerous food additives I have stumbled upon recently. There are hundreds more to watch out for. Now I read every label before I buy something. If I can't pronounce an ingredient then it goes straight back onto the shelf.

Here are a few links I found with some interesting food additive lists and information:

As my dear friend Oprah always says, "When you know better, you do better."

Now you know.

[Update 1: Although the red jellos do not contain tartrazine, the orange does. I suspect peach would since it is "yellowish". I haven't checked, but lemon probably does too. This does not just pertain to Jello-brand jellos. No-name brands contain tartrazine too. Don't worry, they all contain food colourings; most of which are not good for you. Tartrazine just happens to be so bad that they specifically have to make a note of it. Read the labels carefully!]

[Update 2: It gets worse. Check out this article on how gelatin is made. Cow or pig bones, hooves and connective tissues? Eeeww. I think I should stop researching this topic or I might make myself sick.]


buzz bishop said...

what about red jello? is that one okay?

Kimberly said...

One of my closest friends is raising her family on organic foods. I am so, so glad I've already started following her example in some areas, but I've still got a long way to go.

I was shocked a few months ago to find out that Flintstone vitamins were made with aspartame. Crazy!

Thanks for the info!