Archives for the day Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

People food for thought Part XI: Food coloring

 When I come over to the states for the first time through home-stay program years ago, it was very fun and exciting to find something new each day. Things you would think it normal here in the states was very new, and exciting to me.

 One of the things I noticed was especially food/baked goods etc here in the states was so colorful. Cereal, snacks,cakes,cookies etc comes with all kinds of colors. Things not so obvious items such as cokes, soy sauce (soy sauce imported from Japan has no caramel coloring in it) have caramel coloring

 Even dog biscuits/treats are very colorful..

 King of colorful food items for human will be big birthday cakes including ice cream cakes. For us, human,colorful items can be quite eye catching, but are the colorful food really good for your health?

 I find that especially cakes is very different from the ones I am familiar with from back home in Japan. Cakes (Sponge cakes) here is very dense most of the time if not Angel Food cake, and very very sweet. Then, on top of the sweet cakes, here comes very sweet, colorful icing..

 I remember the time when I got a small sample of cakes at grocery store, I have scraped off all the colorful icing and ate a couple of bites of cakes and, flush it down with lots of water because it was so sweet.

 Icing itself was very new thing to me, and it is something I learned here in the states.

 Cakes (Sponge) you find in Japan has very moist,fluffy texture, and they are not overly sweet. Tops,sides of cakes are not covered with icing you are familiar with, and often times, icing for us is simply whipped cream with touch of sweetness, and we rely on color with fresh fruits such as berries, not with commercial made coloring agent.

 If you make chocolate icing with Japanese way, all you need to do is to whip the cream, add touch of sugar and add coco powder. No butter, no heavy amount of sugar, no chemical coloring needed. 

 If you need green for icing, just add some Matcha green tea powder to the whipped cream. If you want green with topping, use the kiwi fruits.

 One of the topping that is very different from here is marron (big chestnut) topping. I have never seen marron cakes here in the states. In Japan, Marron pieces are used as topping and also used mashed to decorate the cakes using the piping bag.

 I miss Japanese cakes and, when I back to home to see my family, eating a cake there is one of the things in my to-do list. I do bake cakes here, but I like to taste the ones sold back home too.


Home made Birthday cake …

** Berries,mandarin orange,peach,and cherry as topping.

** Light whipping cream decoration on sides and covered with lightly toasted coconut flakes.

** Filling: Whipping cream with touch of Rum mixed with drained,chopped canned peach,orange etc..

 Are the colorful food really good for your health?

 According to Milton Stokes M.P.H.,R.D, three most used color Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and red 40 contains the compounds such as benzidin, and 4 aminobipheny that research linked with cancer.

 With children, the research has associated the food dye with allergy, hyper activity, learning impairment, irritability etc.

 To read the full article by Milton Stokes M.P.H..R.D.,please click here.

 With recent report from the Center for science in the public interest, non-profit consumer group has asked FDA to ban the synthetic food dye. Center for science in the public interest collected petition and asked FDA to encourage the companies to switch the synthetic colorings to safer colorings, and put the label that notes the products contains synthetic colorings just like EU has done in July 2010.

 According to Chicago Tribune newspaper, FDA now seems to examine whether the synthetic food dyes adversely impact children health.

 To read the full article at Chicago Tribune news paper website,please click here.

 Now, what are the food colorings made from?

 If you have kids in the house, you may find yourself baking cakes,cookies and decorate them with sprinkles or icing with food dye, but have you ever thought what food colorings are made from?

 According to wisegeek website, there are two kinds of coloring agent. One is the one that delivered from natural source in the wild.

 For example, green is from seaweed. Orange is from seeds (I do  not know what kinds of seeds are used to make orange color). Red, sometimes labeled as “carmine” is delivered from certain insects. Some red colors are made from beet juice or paprika. Brown is from caramelized sugar.

 Although, especially red coloring is “eww” factor if it were delivered from insect but they are considered “natural” since they are delivered from plants,spice, and food in natural world.

 The other is the artificial coloring/food dye you could find in the food label if you look closer. It usually has name of color and number follows such as Yellow 5. That is the way to tell if the product has synthetic coloring in it.

 FD&C Yellow # 5 is made from coal tar, Red # 3 contains erythrosine (coal tar based compound). With rat studies, rat has developed thyroid cancer when they consumed many erythrosine.

 To read the full article at wisegeek website,please click here.

 Next time when you have family member’s birthday party, bake your own cake and let the family member decorate the topping as they like with fresh fruits ( no food coloring).

 When we had wedding, we just asked for plain sponge cake with whipping cream decoration and nothing fancy. In the early morning, me and my mother sliced fruits,packed them and let the guest decorated the cake for me and my husband.

 Colorful products are eye catching and attractive to us, but they are not good for our health. I was avoiding the use of artificial coloring/food dye and I really had no chance to really look the label, but last time when we went for grocery shopping, I dropped by the baking aisle and checked the food dye box,sprinkles, crystal sprinkles etc…

 It is scary to find yellow #5 was in the ingredients list on most of the products and I found Red #40 seemed to be common. Some food dye had preservatives in it too.

 According to website, Blue #6 is also contains cancer causing compound.

 To read the full article at website,please click here.

 These common food dye in food products also appear in some of the dog treats. Bone shaped biscuits are very popular, for example, but it contains Red #40, Yellow #5 and Blue #1.

 Not just these dog treats, but also some of the dog treats are decorated very colorful to attract dog lovers but, turns the back on those products. They are not good for your furry furriends.

 Sometimes, when we visit vet clinic, they offer the bone shaped biscuits to our stumpy dog “Palette”, and sometimes when we go to big box pet store, cashie
r offers the bone shaped biscuits to Palette. Sometimes, groomer offer the same stuff to Palette.

 She stare on hands that come closer with the biscuits and she backs up as it comes closer. If she grabbed it, she just hold for a second, and drop it after the hand disappeared.

 She knows Baguette biscuits (buffalo liver biscuits) and Greek biscuits (salmon biscuits) I make are with much much better ingredients, and biscuits made with simple ingredients are tastier than the ones with long list of ingredients and  colorings etc.

 I hope that companies that make food for human, companies that make food/treats for our furriends, both will realize what they really are putting into their products and how they effects our health and our furriends’.

Apr 03, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized