This Loophole Allows Chemicals to Hide In Your Food

We often see “artificial” or “natural” flavors listed among the ingredients on foods we buy, but do consumers know what these terms mean? Action Alert!
Recently, the FDA announced that a group of six artificial flavors would no longer be permitted to be used as food additives. They are: synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. If you’ve never heard of these, you’re not alone. Most Americans are completely unaware of the additives put into their food because the food industry does not need to list the chemicals they use in the ingredients. Instead, the federal government allows these chemicals to be obscured by being listed as “artificial flavors” or “natural flavors.” It’s time to stop letting Big Food and their crony capitalist friends get away with hiding the contents of their products and require them to list the chemicals they use in our food.
Artificial flavors are flavors that have been derived from sources other than plants or animals; they are synthetic compounds made in a lab from any of thousands of different chemicals used to make flavors. Companies often favor artificial flavors because they are cheaper to produce than “natural” flavors. It’s impossible to know, then, just how many chemicals are in a food that lists “artificial flavors” in its ingredients—it could be two, or it could be twenty.
Despite the vast number of chemicals used in food and labeled as artificial flavors, the government has done very little to ensure that they are safe. That’s because food companies can deem their own products to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) without a formal review by the FDA. The GRAS process has essentially turned into a loophole for food companies to declare all kinds of chemicals safe to add to our food with little oversight. The FDA seems fine with taking Big Food’s word for it. The above-mentioned chemicals that are now banned were found to cause cancer in animal studies, and the FDA needed to be sued by grassroots environmental advocacy groups to remove them from the food supply. Of the thousands of other chemicals being added to our food, how many more pose a risk to human health?
Allowing Big Food to only mention “artificial flavors” rather than list the chemical names of the additives they use only benefits food manufacturers because they know that consumers would be turned off if they knew their favorite iced tea had seven chemicals they couldn’t pronounce in the ingredients. The term “artificial flavors” is similar to the new GMO label in development that depicts a sun with a smiley face and says “BE” for “bioengineered” rather than GMO, a term more people are aware of. In both cases, the government is helping the food industry sanitize its products to make them more attractive to consumers. Once again, our crony capitalist government takes the side of industry rather than ordinary consumers.
Natural flavors should also be listed on food packaging. According to the FDA, natural flavors are flavors isolated from plant or animal sources. Like artificial flavors, natural flavors are ubiquitous in our food supply; one report found that only water, salt, and sugar appear on food labels more often than “natural flavors.” You may think that natural flavors are better, since they are derived from natural sources, but experts say that the source of a flavor has no bearing on how healthy or safe it is. For example, traces of cyanide can be found in natural almond flavor; raw soybeans used to make soy sauce can also be toxic. Some natural vanilla flavor is synthesized from the anal glands of beavers. The point is that consumers have a right to know what chemicals are in the foods they buy so informed decisions can be made about what is OK and what should be avoided.
The solution is simple. Food companies should be required to list out all of the chemicals used to flavor a food. Because it can be difficult to distinguish the chemical names of natural and artificial flavors, food labels can simply list out natural flavors under that heading, and artificial flavors under their own heading. Consumers could then make their own informed decisions about what they are comfortable eating.
Action Alert! Tell Congress and the FDA to mandate that artificial and natural flavors be listed on food labels. Please send your message immediately.


  1. Hmmmmmmmmm. Natural vanilla flavor being synthesized from the anal glands of beavers?? I think I will be steering clear of ALL FOODS containing VANILLA FLAVORING, natural or otherwise!!!!

    1. I do recall a spice vendor touting their vanilla flavoring. It contained mostly real vanilla, but due to a few other additives, had to be labeled as “artificial.”

  2. The problem with this rule is that the exact flavoring used in something is often a trade secret. If they have to list ALL their flavorings, then it wouldn’t take long for everyone and his brother to make their own knock-offs. We already have enough trouble with people/companies spending thousands/millions of dollars of R&D on a new product, only to be unable to recoup their costs because China’s fielding copies at 10% of the price.
    And I also might point out that some products, like root beer, are ALWAYS artificially flavored because the natural flavoring is a KNOWN CARCINOGEN!

    1. I would invite you to review the complaint detailed below with specific attention to Natural Flavorings, All Natural Products, No Artificial Ingredients, and other masquerades that are used to hide the spices and ingredients that are added to foods without label disclosure. This has an ulterior motive.
      The following is a complaint that was recently filed and registered for a period of three years, for public disclosure and public viewing, at the Better Business Bureau’s website for unresolved food complaints. It is but one example of many complaints that I have filed in the last four years and it reflects my contempt towards American agriculture.
      Origination of Complaint
      On January 22, 2020 I purchased at the Big Lots Store at the Potsdam Plaza, 200 Market Street, Potsdam, New York Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats Whole Grain. I had contemplated on purchasing this cereal for several weeks, because the vast majority of American agricultural products, both conventional and organic, are contaminated with glyphosate, atrazine, malathion, and other carcinogenic hormone hacking chemicals. So I was exercising caution, but since there are so few options, I thought I would give it a try.
      On January 23, 2020, I consumed a small portion of this cereal along with ingredients that I have been eating for months and I know that they cause me no harm. Approximately two hours later, I felt borderline normal, although I did not feel sick. So on January 24, the next day, I consumed a much larger portion with the same ingredients as the previous day. About two hours later, the results were unquestionable. This cereal made me sick.
      Whenever I eat food that is contaminated with glyphosate, or similar carcinogenic hormone hacking chemicals, I develop fatigue, weakness, headaches, pins and needles sensation in my hands and feet, a flu like illness, and insomnia. These signs and symptoms are a premonition to a condition that is much more serious and that can cost you your life as result of eating foods contaminated with glyphosate or similar hormone hacking chemicals. That disease is rectal and colon cancer. On a world wide basis and particularly in the USA, there is now an alarming epidemic of rectal and colon cancer in young people. These cancers are projected to accelerate in the months and years to come. The timeline in developing these cancers overlaps the exponential use of glyphosate. Millennials have the highest exposure to glyphosate per pound of body weight more than any other generation. The cause of these cancers is likely to be due to glyphosate or other similar hormone hacking chemicals in the food supply. These are the same or similar chemicals which make me sick. Young pregnant women are among the worst victims and tragedies for rectal and colon cancer. The vast majority are terminal upon being diagnosed. No one, thus far, is being held responsible for this problem. When more young people die from rectal and colon cancer and it reaches a critical mass, it will become obvious. Heads will begin to roll. Mark my words.
      What is most disturbing is that this company attempts to increase consumer confidence that this product is healthy. This would be absolutely great, if it were true. On the back of the cereal package in question there is a statement by Bob Moore with his signature appearing below which reads:
      “What we eat in the morning makes all the difference in how we get through the rest of the day. A bowl of nutritious whole grain oatmeal starts you off right and keeps your hunger at bay throughout the morning. In my view, no food on earth is better ! To your good health.”
      On the front of the package there appears a shortened statement again endorsed by a registered trademark and accompanied below by Bob Moore’s signature which states: “To Your Good Health.”
      Another trademark quote on the front of the package informs: “World’s Best Oatmeal”
      From the company’s website, Mr Bob Moore is pictured in a food grain store. On the wall in back is a sign that states “Bob’s Red Mill Natural Food.” A review of the company’s website reveals that there is not a single mention of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and the rampant contamination of American agricultural products with glyphosate, atrazine, malathion, and other carcinogenic hormone hacking chemicals. Despite the repeated healthy claims, there is no policy in place to give food consumers confidence that its grains are free from deleterious chemicals. More importantly, however, if this company has such a concern for people’s health, then it should serve as a firewall to protect its customers. It should grow and source its grains from food suppliers whose grain, by certified affidavit food toxicological laboratory testing and label affirmation, does not contain deleterious carcinogenic chemicals.
      What is particularly troubling is that a segment of the young people who develop rectal and colon cancer pay exquisite attention to their health as for example marathon runners. These individuals need a substantial amount of caloric intake due to the enormous caloric expenditure required to run long distances. They are attracted to “healthy” cereals such as Bob’s Red Mill, not knowing that such cereals can contain dangerous carcinogenic chemicals. When a young athletic person who has no risk factors for rectal and colon cancer is diagnosed with terminal rectal and colon cancer, they invariably ask “How can this happen to me ? I did everything right.” These food consumers that are trying to do everything possible to maintain and even enhance their health are captivated yet betrayed by Bob’s Red Mill. This company is clueless and oblivious to the harm they are perpetuating. The food consumer is deceived into thinking and believing that Bob’s Red Mill is a refuge from foods contaminated with carcinogenic hormone hacking chemicals. This company is not the health oasis that it claims to be, but quite the opposite, it is magnifying and maximizing the detrimental effects by falsely claiming that it sells healthy foods. The cereal that was sold to me and which sickened me was not natural.
      Bob’s Red Mill, from its website, asserts that it has whatever organic certifications from the USDA and follows rules and regulations. All of the organic certification companies, local, national, and international are useless and worthless in my experience. This is the equivalent of taking a car to an inspection station where the inspection station waves a magic wand over the vehicle and then attaches a new inspection sticker. No actual inspection of the car is done such as inspecting for leaks, worn tires and brakes, unstable suspension, and functional lights. Similarly, no final inspection of organic products is done by laboratory testing and label verification to determine whether or not the final product contains deleterious chemicals. Glyphosate has been demonstrated to stimulate cancer cells in concentrations of parts per trillion.
      If Bob’s Red Mill cereal is top shelf material and stands head and shoulders above all other cereals, according to its recurrent healthy claims and assertions, then the company should be able to prove to an extremely skeptical and extremely distrust food consumer that this in fact true. Request that Bob’s Red Mill produce a digital copy affidavit for the cereal in question from a certified food toxicological laboratory under the pains and penalties of perjury. The analysis should also contain a determination if this product contains rosemary extract or carnosic acid. The USDA allows food products to be sprayed with rosemary extract both as a flavoring additive and preservative. The USDA considers rosemary extract to be GRAS. However, rosemary in extract form and concentration, has an acid component called carnosic acid. Carnosic acid is used as a chemotherapeutic drug for the treatment of patients who have breast or prostate cancer. Carnosic acid’s mechanism of action is to disrupt and throw into disarray the body’s hormones particularly estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. One of the hallmarks of chemotherapy is that it causes side effects and makes people sick. The USDA’s subsidiary, the New York State Department of Agriculture, has confessed to me in an email, in response to complaints that I have filed, that it clandestinely allows rosemary extract to be added to food products without label disclosure. Or it can be masqueraded as a flavor enhancement, All Natural Products, Non GMO, or No Artificial Ingredients. Rosemary extract’s sickness provoking profile, in terms of signs and symptoms, is similar to glyphosate and sometimes even worse. I have had these experiences many times. They are terrible.
      I have retained in my possession a partially used package of the cereal in question which made me sick.
      In effect, I have purchased and consumed a cereal that was not representative of what was being sold. This cereal is not to my good health, but quite the contrary, it was to the detriment of my health. This cereal has sickened me and jeopardized my health and unknowingly the health of all others who consume it.
      This matter has risen to such a level of urgency that it warrants your attention and action. For the sake of those who suffer in silence and for the sake of those who may not be able to trace the origin of their illness, I am requesting that you investigate this matter.
      Respectfully submitted,
      Charles Godreau

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