Sunday, April 27, 2008

Such a sensitive wee soul...

When it comes to food additives I really can't afford to be too snooty. After all, a large part of my job involves figuring out exactly what % of flavourings and sweeteners will be necessary to make a healthy product palatable to the majority of tastebuds. In my own products I keep it to a minimum, but then I'm lucky because I don't sell any products that are truly evil tasting in their unflavoured form. I have read a lot of research into the relative safety of various additives and have concluded that sensitivity is an individual issue and that sensitivity or allergy to chemicals is a lot like sensitivity or allergy to foods - which is in itself a reaction to a naturally occurring chemical in that food. Biochemic individuality and all that. I also know that 'natural' is not necessarily more natural than an 'artificial' additive. If something is white and powdery then it has been through a swag chemical processes to get that way, no matter what the marketing may say.

I personally seem to have a sensitivity to a class of food additives knows as 'flavour enhancers', especially MSG (621). It causes a pretty immediate reaction - headache, blocked sinuses and a sort of itching at the top of my ears. Tonight I cooked up an apricot chicken mix and threw in a flavour sachet from Basco gluten free foods. Generally the gluten free ranges are pretty good because their clientele tend to be reactive people. I had not really scrutinised the packet - mainly because I'm still having trouble with fine print, and the list of ingredients was on a sort of shiny background which my new eyes didn't seem to be able to figure out. About 20 minutes into my meal I started to get an 'MSG' reaction and also developed severe itching and a rash in the fold of my elbows. I got Jase to check the packet for flavour enhancer 621 and it was a negative. However, there is a newer flavour enhancer on there.. 635 - Disodium 5'-ribonucleotide. It's a mix of flavour enhancers 627 and 631. Type that one into Google and you'll find that there is a common allergy known as 'ribo rash' related to 635. Ok, so I've got a little itchy rash and a little headache to go with my departing cold and healing eyes (BTW - yes, I AM typing with my eyes closed, so if you spot typos, you can blame my touch typing teacher back in form 3). BUT, what really gets me is that I mixed $40 worth of free range, organic chicken breast with that flavour enhanced sachet! I had been intending to pack the leftovers for lunches this week. It wasn't even a really good flavour.. and now that I'm really feeling lucid, whatever made me think I needed a flavour sachet to make apricot chicken anyway? I must have been entranced by the glorious full cover food porn on the packet. Yup, I need to wise up. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Where'd my post go?? Anyway, Sara...again good to see your eyes are recovering from the Lasik procedure...Sent you an email on the TT Breakthrough club...

    Great blog!



I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.