What’s in Your Coffee?

November 21, 2007 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

We just finished off the half n’ half purchased at Whole Foods in Portland, ME. As I was opening the new carton (picked up yesterday at Shaws) I happened to compare the ingredients:

Whole Foods Brand- 365 Half n’ Half: milk and cream. So, basically this item is half milk and half cream. Well that makes sense seeing this product is called Half and Half.

Shaws Brand: milk, cream, disodium phosphate, sodium citrate, and carrageenan.

OK, already this is looking a little scary. We know what the milk and cream are, but what about the other ingredients.

  • Disodium phosphate
    • According to this site it is most used in personal care products such as shampoo.
    • NutritionData.com says that it is a “Buffer, Emulsifier, Foaming Agent, Neutralizing Agent, Texture-Modifying Agent, Texturizer, Whipping Agent.”
    • Another link from Food Additives:What They Do says that it controls acidity.
    • One last Food Additives Guide says, “Disodium phosphate is a sodium salt of orthophosphoric acid and is used as an antioxidant synergist, stabiliser and buffering agent in food. It is also used as an emulsifier in the manufacture of pasteurised processed cheese. Disodium phosphate is added to powdered milk to prevent gelation. Typical products include processed meat products, processed cheese products, powdered milk. Other names: disodium hydrogen phosphate, disodium orthophosphate, sodium hydrogen phosphate, disodium monohydrogen phosphate, phosphoric acid disodium salt.”
  • Carrageenan-
    • NutritionData.com- Emulsifier, Foaming Agent, Gelling Agent, Stabilizer, Suspending Agent, Thickener, Whipping Agent
    • The Fanatic Cook says, “Carrageenan is a food additive. It’s used as a thickener, or “texturizer”. It’s extracted from certain types of marine algae or seaweed, which gives the impression that food containing it is “all natural”. Unfortunately, it produces a response in animals’ gastrointestinal tracts that is anything but natural.”
  • Sodium Citrate-
    • Food Guide Additives- “Monosodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid, E330, and is used as an antioxidant in food as well as to improve the effects of other antioxidants. It is also used as an acidity regulator and sequestrant. Typical products include gelatine products, jam, sweets, ice cream, carbonated beverages, milk powder, wine, processed cheeses.”

I just don’t get why we need these food additives. Can someone tell me? It  doesn’t seem right. In fact, it seems down right scary that these ingredients are in our everyday products. I know which dairy creamer I’ll be buying from now on…or…at least which one I won’t.

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Entry filed under: Healthy Living/Healthy Earth. Tags: , .

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