Article reference:

Food additives in ice cream

Date of Publication Oct. 2004

Ice Cream, Anyone?

The average American consumes 24 quarts of ice cream every year. He thinks he is only eating cream, sugar, and vanilla. But he is actually putting a lot of very strange things into his body.

There are over 1,400 flavorings, stabilizers, colors, and emulsifiers available to the commercial producer of ice cream.

Unfortunately, ice cream manufacturers are not required by law to list the additives used in making their product. As a result, most ice creams are synthetic from start to finish.

Ice cream makers are giving us a wide variety of delicious flavors, but are they fit to eat?

There is hardly any ice cream flavor that does not have a chemical substitute. Some of the artificial flavors are potent poisons which are powerful enough to cause liver, kidney, and heart disease.

Some ice creams contain natural flavorings; some contain a mixture of natural and artificial flavors, and some are entirely artificially flavored. The artificial flavors are favored by the manufacturers because, since they cost less, the profit is increased.

For example, consider "vanilla": Category I is commercial vanilla flavoring made entirely of vanilla. Category II is a combination of natural and artificial flavors; and the package may read, "vanilla flavored." Category III is entirely artificial; and the label may read, "artificially flavored vanilla."

What is in artificial vanilla flavoring? It is peperonal or vanillin. Peperonal is a chemical used to kill lice. Vanillin is made from the wastes of wood pulp and has no relationship to the vanilla bean.

Natural vanilla (which is pureed vanilla beans or vanilla extract) is much more expensive than artificial vanilla. Today it is only rarely found in the ice cream you buy at the store.

Then there is strawberry flavor. How nice fresh, ripe strawberries taste! But in your dish of "strawberry" ice cream, you will find benzyl acetate˜a synthetic chemical that tastes like strawberries.

According to the Merck Index, an encyclopedia for chemists, this substance is extremely dangerous and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It is a nitrate solvent.

Would you rather have pineapple flavoring in your ice cream? Ethyl acetate is used to give that flavor. It can cause liver, kidney, and heart damage. It is also used as a cleaner for leather and textiles.
Its vapors have been known to cause chronic lung, liver, and heart damage.

What about banana flavoring? It is amylbutyrate, which is also used as an oil paint solvent.

Cherries anyone? Aldehydec 17 is used to provide the cherry flavor in your ice cream. This is an inflammable liquid which is used as aniline dyes, and the manufacture of plastic and rubber.

Perhaps nuts is what you want in your ice cream? Butraldehyde is the chemical used to provide the nut flavoring in ice cream. It is one of the ingredients in rubber cement.

The problem is that nearly all our artificial food flavors and food colors˜come from coal tar! This is a substance in coal and also petroleum. We would never think of putting coal or gasoline in our bodies; yet that is what is put into all the processed food which contains, what the label calls "pure food colors" or "artificial flavorings." Coal tar is notorious as a causative agent in producing cancers of the stomach, bowel, kidney, liver, and other organs.

Back in the old days, fresh eggs would be added to ice cream as an emulsifier, to make it more textured. Today diethyl glycol is used instead. This is the same chemical used in antifreeze and paint removers. Like all the other chemicals, it is dangerous. You do not want even small amounts of these chemicals in your body. According to the Merck Index, it is sufficiently toxic to cause liver and kidney damage.

Stabilizers make ice cream smooth; and emulsifiers make it stiff, so it can retain air. Here are some of the chemicals used to stabilize and emulsify the ice cream you eat:

Propylene glycol (also used in antifreeze), glycerin, sodium carboxyl methylcellulose, monoglycerides, diglycerides, disodium phosphates, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, polysorbate 80, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate.

Government regulations permit all these things to be placed in your ice cream.

Last but not least, ice cream makers pump air into the product. Homemade ice cream weighs 7 to 8∏ pounds per gallon. Store-bought ice cream weighs 4.5 pounds or less. So you are paying a lot for a smaller amount of cream; but you are still getting a heavy dose of chemical additives. Is it really worth it?

The next time you are tempted by a nice-looking banana split, think of it as a mixture of oil and nitrate solvent, antifreeze, and lice killer.