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Delving Into the American Food Supply: From Jell-O to Subway

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: One of the many food staples of childhood is Jell-O. But if you dig deeper into the ingredients, what you find will disgust you.
Air Date: 5/28/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Vani Hari
Vani Hari started FoodBabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth.

Impassioned by knowing how food affects health, Vani loves sharing her message on the blogosphere to 3 million unique readers across the globe. Vani convinced the biggest fast food chain in the world, Subway, to remove a controversial ingredient after receiving 50,000 signatures in 24 hours on her petition to the chain. After receiving tremendous attention on her posts about Chick-Fil-A, she was invited by the company’s leadership to meet at its headquarters to consult on specific improvements to ingredients used by the national chain, which they later implemented. Seven months after Vani petitioned Kraft to remove harmful petroleum-based artificial food dyes from Mac & Cheese, Kraft responded by removing the dye from all products aimed at children.

Other major food companies that have responded to her writings include Whole Foods, Lean Cuisine, McDonalds, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Yoforia, and Moe’s South West Grill.

Vani’s activism brought national attention at the Democratic National Convention when she used her status as an elected delegate to protest in front of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the issue of GMO labeling. Vani has been profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, Doctors Show, NBC News, Fox News and is a regular cooking contributor on NBC’s Charlotte Today and food expert on CNN.
  • Guest Twitter Account: @thefoodbabe
Delving Into the American Food Supply: From Jell-O to Subway
One of the many food staples of childhood is Jell-O.

It's something that everyone feeds their kids when they are sick, but it's also a "fun" snack according to all the marketing tactics. And why not? It tastes good... basically because its comprised of all sugar.

Unfortunately, when you dig a little deeper into the ingredients as Vani Hari did, what you find will surprise and disgust you.

Jell-O also contains artificial food dyes. These dyes have been proven to cause hyperactivity and attention deficits in kids. In fact, labels in other countries outside the U.S. clearly warn that the food may cause hyperactivity in children. Artificial food dyes are also carcinogens, and linked to allergies, asthma, eczema.

Why are these dyes allowed in the U.S. when other countries have monitored their use? A Purdue University study found that the amount of artificial dyes Americans are being exposed to is much higher than the FDA ever imagined when they approved the use. And now they have done nothing to correct it.

Another dangerous ingredient is BHA, which is used as a preservative. While it's legal here in the U.S., BHA is banned all over the globe and has been linked to cancer.

All of these ingredients are destroying your body from within. Jell-O is literally one of the worst products on supermarket shelves, based on its ingredients.

If Vani Hari could do with Jell-O what she accomplished with Subway restaurants, she would have one more notch in her food safety belt.

After doing some research, Vani discovered that Subway bread contained a toxic chemical ingredient called azodicarbonamide, which is used in yoga mats, shoe rubber, and synthetic leather.

Upon further investigation, she found out that in Singapore, you would go to prison if you used it in food products. When heated, it's considered a carcinogen.

A spill of the chemical in Chicago forced a one-mile radius of the area to be evacuated.

So, yes, it is a nasty chemical. But, after petitioning Subway to remove the chemical from their bread, they agreed to do so. And some other restaurants and chains are following suit.

What can you do to advocate for your own health when it comes to the American food supply?

Tune in to find more about Vani's efforts and which foods you should stay clear of.