The Hidden Dangers in Our Health Foods

Michelle Heltay

Posted on November 04 2019

The Hidden Dangers in Our Health Foods

First published March 31, 2013 by Michelle Heltay. Original post can be found at

Today, I went grocery shopping. I had a specific list of items I needed as both my son and I are swapping to a gluten & grain free & completely dairy free lifestyle. Now this substitution in itself is an interesting change to implement. It means finding a whole new avenue of supplies and suppliers.

I am in the fortunate position of being a Naturopath so I can purchase pretty much anything in any health food store or grocery health aisle at wholesale.

The challenge here is identifying the hidden ingredients inside our so called health food items. As some of you may realise from reading labels, that some ingredients are listed by name only, some by numbers and some by both. And without guidance, they are just names and numbers to most of you. But what you may not be aware of is, there are way too many ingredients that should NEVER be allowed on a grocery shelf ANYWHERE!

The 5% Loophole

On top of the fact that I found so many dangerous chemicals LISTED, there is the 5% loophole in Australia. This means that manufacturers can get away with not listing additives if they are present in an ingredient that comprises 5% or less of the product!

Take for example, vegetable oil. Many products on the market contain vegetable oil in their ingredients, and the oil will inevitably contain antioxidants. Some of the antioxidants (an example of the most common antioxidants are 310, 319 or 320) are associated with adverse health impacts BUT THESE ANTIOXIDANTS ARE NOT LISTED on the label if the amount of vegetable oil in the product is less than 5% of its weight.

Quite often, manufacturers can list compound ingredients such as breadcrumbs or margarine and again, they do not have to list what is in those ingredients if they make up less than 5% of the final product. Even though these ingredients often contain suspect colours, preservatives and
antioxidants, they do not have to be declared on the label.

The Numbers They Call Preservatives

So why am I so upset today? What was on the shelf that made my blood boil? Rice chips. Sour cream and chive flavoured rice chips. Of the very few things my son will eat, he relishes his newly discovered rice chips. He has only just had a couple packets, and thank goodness too. It contains the additive 320. Butylated hydroxyanisole.

The adverse reactions include but are not limited to:
* serious concerns about carcinogenic (cancer causing) and estrogenic (hormone mimicking ) effects, asthmatics and aspirin sensitive people should avoid,
* causes metabolic changes and accumulates in body fat. BANNED in Japan in 1958 (did you get that: in 1958!!). NOT permitted in foods for infants and young children.

If this product contains an ingredient that is NOT permitted in foods for infants and young children, what the hell is it doing in the health food aisle in chips? The place parents go to, to get healthy food and snack alternatives for their children. They trust that the food products located there are safe to consume.

There are many more ingredients like this in our foods. Remember I mentioned 310 & 319 in the vegetable oil above?

310: Propyl gallate: Adverse reactions: suspected carcinogen; asthmatics and aspirin sensitive people should avoid, LIVER DAMAGE, skin irritations. PROHIBITED IN FOOD FOR INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN as linked to blood disorder.

Vegetable oil is a common ingredient in pizzas, ice cream, chips, cookies, muesli bars, breakfast cereals and so much more. How do you know what is in the next shop bought food item you give your child? The 5% loophole gives the manufacturer an out. You could be giving your child almost anything and not know it.

319: tert-Butylhydroquinone: Adverse reactions: linked to cancer, birth defects and can cause nausea, vomiting, delirium, collapse and dermatitis. Dose of 5g is FATAL – avoid it.

What happens next time your family or friends decides to have a fast food night or a movie night? You indulge in all the yummy stuff and before you know it, you have a potential 5g lethal dose of 319.

And yet, the Australian Government freely ALLOWS these foods to contain these nasty bad arsed additive & chemicals into our everyday foods. Allows our children to consume it, our babies, our pregnant mothers whose placenta allows EVERYTHING good and bad to pass through. Most of the additives accumulate in our body fat and we have NO idea of what the real long term effects are on our bodies. There is no way of testing how the combined effects of all the beauty products chemicals, the food chemicals/additives, the fruit & vegetables with their massive pesticides and herbicides are all doing to our bodies.

Experts talk about half lives of chemicals. Sure, some chemicals will have a half life of hours to days, but the other half that is still in our body, accumulating in our body fat can take up to 99 years and longer to break down! And then we keep loading up more and more and more chemicals into our body as we eat worse and worse and worse – mostly because it’s convenient to grab a ready made meal. The average human only lives for 80 years – the darned chemicals live longer than we do!

For another common chemical additive in children’s food: 122 is also known as Azorubine or Carmoisine. It is a suspected carcinogen, mutagen, skin rashes, oedema and hyperactivity. It is BANNED in Sweden, USA, Austria and Norway but allowed in Australian foods. Why?

123 Amaranth is also a suspected carcinogen, mutagen, linked to hyperactivity, asthma and eczema. BANNED in USA in 1976, Russia, Austria, Norway and other countries BUT NOT Australia! Why is this dangerous chemical permitted in our foods?

The list goes on and on.

The saddest part about all of this, is even in health food stores, additives like 310, 319 and 320 are listed amongst the ingredients. The one place you think you would get the healthiest foods from, contain some of the most dangerous known to man.


Sodium & Potassium nitrates; 250, 251 & 252. Behavioural problems, hyperactivity, asthma, headaches, possible carcinogen. Prohibited in foods for infants & young children. Found freely in salami & small goods, chips, crackers, cakes, muffins, sausage rolls, pies and much more. CHECK YOUR LABELS!

A Common Ingredient Called Carrageenan

Carrageenan is supposed to be natural. It’s used in foods and skin care quite freely. There’s even an antioxidant vitamin supplement made specifically from Carrageenan!

This is the truth about Carrageenan: number 407. It is a suspected carcinogen, it is linked to ulcerative colitis, damage to the immune system as well as concern about excitotoxic effects. Here is something that may interest you: IT’S NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN but you’ll find it in many snacks promoted for kids consumption.

Carrageenan comes from Irish Moss. Keep in mind, the Carrageenan used in commerical foods is denatured and has had chemicals added to it to keep it preserved and 'active'.  Natural Irish Moss and natural kappa carrageenan is fine.

At all costs, avoid carrageenan if you see it on labels unless it has been handmade by someone you know and trust.


Causes headaches, migraines, dizziness, seizures, numbness, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, slurred speech, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss and joint pain. It is also linked to brain cancer. In fact, a 2 year study by the manufacturer even confirmed this result, yet it was still approved for use!

Found in diet drinks, lollies, breath mints, sugar alternatives and much more.

image source: rawganic vegan - Liana Shanti


GRAS, Generally Regarded As Safe foods/additives. What defines a chemical or additive to be labelled as GRAS? Well, actually, the food manufacturer itself can label their own chemicals and additives as GRAS. If they create a new chemical or additive, and then include that new chemical into their food, tell the FDA that it is GRAS, then the FDA just magically nods their head and gives it the seal of approval. I mean, after all, all food manufacturers have the consumers best interest at heart don’t they?


It’s Not all Doom and Gloom

It’s not all doom and gloom though it certainly may seem like it. It is time NOW to take back your power as a human and make your own decisions. Take responsibility for what you and your family does and does not consume. Creating quick and easy healthy meals for your family starts with a simple step.

Start educating yourself on making meals from scratch. Consume more raw foods. It really can be easier to make meals at home. My 10 year old son and I will be making Raw Nachos Salad this afternoon. It will take us around 20 minutes to prepare together. And what’s more, because we will prepare it together, there will also be pride in consuming the food we make with our hands. Teach the next generation how to be self healing.

You can get the recipe for Raw Nachos Salad in my Next Generational Living & Eating Ebook

Claim back your health now. Stand up for your health as no one else will. You only have one life so it’s your responsibility to live as healthy as you possibly can. Eating is meant to be fun and enjoyable. Share your healthy eating habits with friends and family. And as the L’oreal advertisements say. Because you’re worth it!


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