The Dangerous Food Additive That’s Not on the Label



A report released earlier this month by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), found that an estimated 2,000 synthetic substances are permitted in non-organic products, where they’re used to extend shelf-life and add flavor. On the other hand, fewer than 40 synthetic substances are approved for use in organic products.

But choosing organic at the grocery store won’t protect consumers from chemicals that originate in food packaging. And while there’s been a fair amount of focus on phthalates and perfluorinated “forever chemicals,” there is one important “additive” that doesn’t show up on ingredient lists at all, but has been finding its way into more foods—organic and conventional alike. The chemical, Perchlorate, isn’t added to the food itself, but is used in packaging, and appears to have been contaminating a growing portion of food since it was approved as an additive by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) in 2005.

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