Thursday, August 1, 2013

Food Additives ..

I am pretty conscientious when it comes to reading food labels for two reasons:  For one, I am allergic to a number of ingredients and second, if the print is so small, that I need a magnifying glass to read the list of ingredients, it goes straight back onto the store shelf.

For the most part, my style of cooking is a combination of healthy eating, recipes that are relatively simple but tasty and I am for shortcuts as long as it doesn't adversely impact the integrity of the finished dish.

If you happened to read my last post (Goat Cheese with Sun-Dried Tomatoes), you know that I love cheese.  For a snack I enjoy a piece of toasted whole grain bread which I will pop back in the toaster oven with a slice or two of cheese for an easy open-face melted cheese sandwich.  Another version I make is to toast a thinly sliced whole wheat bagel, then layer it with some sun-dried tomatoes and shredded mozzarella cheese.  After the cheese has melted, I top it with some fresh basil chiffonade.

For convenience, I have been using prepackaged cheeses (both shredded and sliced).  Awhile back I noticed an ingredient on packaged cheese that I was not familiar with but just shrugged it off:  Natamycin and in some cases Microbial Enzymes, which they are both basically the same from what I can tell.  They are added as a mold inhibitor, and I have not seen it on the ingredient list for block cheeses, cream cheese or most other cheeses.

Today I decided to pull out A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives by Ruth Winter, M.S., one of my many food books, to see what information she had on Natamycin:  Natamycin - see Pimaricin ASP; Pimaricin ASP: moderately toxic by ingestion.

Information I found posted by the FDA (M-I-07-3 posted on 29 January 2007) states that:  "In the case of natamycin, the substance is approved as a food additive for use as an antimycotic on the surface of cheese at levels up to 20 ppm, providing that if there is a standard of identity for the cheese ... "

Having made this discovery, I do not plan on discarding any of the pre-sliced or shredded cheese I have on hand; however, in the future I will most likely purchase only block cheeses and then slice or shred my own.  I'm sure I have enough other toxins in my diet that I don't know about !


  1. interesting.
    I applaud your diligence in looking for healthy foods.
    I just stopped buying/eating Lean Cuisine frozen lunches. A chicken meal caught me by surprise with the words contains fish products...further reading with the magnifier showed it to be 'fish gel' as a a stabilizer. I am so opposed to eating fish gel I cannot describe it....ugh...and the fish were of various origins to make it even worse. I picture them scraping fish gel off the floor of the processing plant.

    1. Anne ~ Thank You and I applaud you too ! It is not easy to change eating habits.

  2. The safest way to eat healthy (including losing weight) is to eat food in their natural states. We do need fats to live, but opt for healthy fats. Plus fats help to satiate hunger, thus one eats less. the fat free stuff, you want to eat more and most do. Most of those fats are replaced by something and often it's sugars, which convert to fat in the body anyway. It's a false illusion. Eat real food and excercise even if that's taking the stairs instead of the elevator and that alone will make positive changes over the long term.