Food stand applauded

THE letter from Graham Jackson (Food for Thought, Gazette 28 July) patronises Gembrook MP Tammy Lobato about food additives without coming to grips with the issue she raised, which is that certain food additives (about 50 out of the 350 permitted) have been proven to affect health, behaviour and learning and are best avoided.
Some of these additives are natural, but that doesn’t mean that the human body is adapted to them, or that they don’t have deleterious effects on some people, and the most likely to be affected are children since they eat more of these substances per kilogram of bodyweight.
The food industry can use alternatives to the harmful food additives and increasingly they are doing so due to consumer pressure. The bread preservative 282 (calcium propionate) is far less likely to be used today, the synthetic antioxidants 310-312 (gallates) and 319-321 (TBHQ, BHA, BHT) have been removed from most Australian retail oils (but are still in catering food if you eat out), and even the iconic Smarties are now using all natural colours rather than harmful artificial colours recently linked to cancer by a major review by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest.
Improved technology such as aseptic packaging and controlled atmosphere storage also address many of the issues that Mr Jackson raised about extended shelf life and distribution systems upon which we depend.
The answers are not all chemical and it is consumer and political pressure which causes positive change, not simple acceptance of the status quo or of sometimes self-interested science which is served up to us.
I for one am glad to see a local MP taking a public lead on this issue, and praising a food company for a positive step. For families who want to know more about the effects of food on behaviour, author Sue Dengate is speaking at Beaconsfield Neighbourhood Centre, 8 O’Neil Road, Beaconsfield, on Thursday 2 September at 7.00pm ( 8768 4400 to register).
Dr Howard Dengate,
Safety Beach, NSW.

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