FDA Has Banned These 7 Cancer-Causing Ingredients, But They’re Still in Ingredients Currently on Shelves

Tiia Monto

When you go to the grocery store and try to decide what to buy for your family, you’re probably trying to fill your cart with nutritious food. This can be easier said than done, especially when kids can be particularly picky eaters, but we try anyway, right? Fruits, vegetables, lean meat, complex carbs. An occasional splurge on something sugary is okay too, right?

While you’re probably considering things like carbs, sugar, and calories, how often do you scroll down the nutrition label far enough to see the list of ingredients? If you haven’t been, may we suggest you start now.

It turns out that sugar is not the enemy when it comes to things like cookies, candy, cereal and gum. The real enemy is cancer causing ingredients that are hiding in our food, especially treats targeted at children. We know. This sounds like it can’t be possible. Oh, but it is.

The FDA recently banned 7 ingredients that have been proven to cause cancer in lab studies. The ingredients are benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine, and styrene. All of these ingredients are listed on product labels simply as “artificial flavor.” It turns out that this is actually a catch all term that could represent 100 different ingredients.

The FDA gave manufacturers 2 years to remove these 7 cancer causing ingredients from the food they produce. Until October 2020, it is perfectly legal for products containing these ingredients to sit on store shelves ready and waiting for you to take them home and feed them to your kids.

Next time you go to the grocery store, look at the nutrition label, and find the list of ingredients. If it lists “artificial flavors” as one of the ingredients, you might want to think twice before buying it. While this ingredient doesn’t necessarily mean that the product contains any of the cancer causing ingredients, there’s simply no way to know whether it does or not.

No company has come forward to admit that their products contain cancer causing ingredients. They’re not required to, so why would they? Well, there is one. Food Babe noticed that almost every single product that Mars Wrigley makes includes artificial flavors. We’re talking about M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, Starburst, Dove Promises, Livesavers, Big Red gum, Juicy Fruit gum, the list goes on.

Mars Wrigley said that they are in the process of removing these cancer-causing ingredients from their products “as quickly as possible,” but they would not say which products contained the ingredients. Their excuse was that they didn’t want to give out false information since they’re currently removing the ingredients.

We already thought candy and gum was giving our kids crazy energy and causing them to sugar crash, but let’s be honest, we love the occasional treat too. We mean, Snickers and Dove Promises? The thought that they might contain cancer causing ingredients might be enough to make us cut ties with these and other foods that contain artificial flavors until well after the October 2020 deadline to remove them. Remember, some foods like candy and gum have a pretty long shelf life, which means that even after October 2020, some food on store shelves could contain the dangerous ingredients.

For more about these banned ingredients, watch the video below.

What makes matters even worse is that these ingredients have been in our food since 1964. It took years of petitions and a lawsuit for the FDA to finally do something. The FDA doesn’t seem to think that this is a big deal. In a statement, they said, “The synthetic flavoring substances that are the subject of this petition are typically used in foods available in the U.S. marketplace in very small amounts and their use results in very low levels of exposure and low risk.” 

In our opinion, a low risk is too much risk, and if you eat multiple foods that contain artificial flavors, the risk isn’t so low now, is it? We think we’re going to avoid any food with artificial flavors from now on, are you? Does it surprise you that there are cancer-causing ingredients in food on store shelves?