How can the consumer know which food additives are harmful and in what ways?
March 1974

“How can the consumer know which food additives are harmful and in what ways?” Ensign, Mar. 1974, 23

Food processors are including many additives in their products. How can the consumer know which of these additives are harmful and in what ways? Can Brigham Young University provide such assistance?

Many individuals object to foods which are prepared with certain preservatives and additives. People in all parts of the world, but particularly in the United States, are concerned about this problem.

Special concern is often expressed about the soft drink industry. The harmful effects of the cola drinks have been mentioned many times. But other drinks are often marketed that contain caffeine. Buyers should know well the products they are purchasing.

Unfortunately, BYU cannot provide answers to each and every problem, because each individual raises a different concern. Our university research must be basic, and is generally done by graduate students pursuing research projects.

Although BYU, or any other university, is usually not available for answers to individual questions, I can recommend three sources of good information on the additive and preservative problem:

1. The federal Food and Drug Administration in the United States regularly prepares pamphlets and brochures for consumers. These cover many subjects and can be ordered at local post offices. They are generally free.

2. The United States Manufacturing Chemists Association prepares brochures on the effects of food additives and preservatives. These may be obtained at many libraries.

3. The best book on the subject is The Consumer’s Fact Book of Food Additives, by Michael F. Jacobsen (Doubleday and Company, New York, 1972). This book would be helpful for those who do not live in the United States as well as those who do.