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Cancer-fighting additive weighed for junk food in Canada

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by shrewsbury, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    Cancer-fighting additive weighed for junk food
    Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 CBC News

    Canada is investigating whether to approve a cancer-fighting additive's use in junk food, but Health Canada wants consumers to weigh in on the idea first.

    The concern surrounds a chemical byproduct called acrylamide that is produced when carbohydrates such as bread or potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.

    Studies in mice suggest acrylamide may cause cancer. There is less evidence in humans, but the suggestion that it might has governments and food manufacturers looking for ways to reduce the potential.

    That's where the additive comes in. It's an enzyme used in some chemotherapy agents to treat leukemia. Food manufacturers say adding it could bring down levels of acrylamide in heated foods since the enzyme breaks down the acrylamide.

    Health Canada's safety assessment of the enzyme, which is called asparaginase, didn't turn up any health or safety concerns.

    'At some stage, we need to take responsibility for our own good health.'Liz Head

    Use of the enzyme is approved by regulators in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Denmark, and has been given a green light by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, Health Canada said.

    The Canadian regulator is seeking public comments on the proposal until Feb. 21.

    The proposal has generated a lot of opinions from consumers.

    "I thought Health Canada was supposed to encourage healthy eating habits," Judith Ryan told CBC News. "If the additive is used, people will think junk food is safe and eat more. The result will be more obesity, more diabetes and more heart disease, and eventually more costs to the health-care system. How smart is this?"

    Liz Head called the proposal "rubbish."

    "When are we going to learn that to be healthy human beings we need to change our eating habits? The best way to prevent cancer is to eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and some protein. At some stage, we need to take responsibility for our own good health and I know those changes are hard to make. Just put some sour cream and onion chips in front of me!"
     
  2. flybro

    flybro Senior Member

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    pluto
    Unreal

    Why?

    I keeep trying to understand why they would do these seemingly stupid things.

    Or perhaps they can't see the science for the dollars.
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Victoria, BC
    Health (?) Canada

    I heard about this on CBC news and was outraged-thanks for posting more info, Islandfinn. I wonder who makes the asparaginase? Is this another case of Health Canada promoting the interests of a corporation over the health of Canadians? Obviously the responsible thing for HC would be to fight for healthier standards for "fast food"--many of them promote not just cancer but diabetes, heart disease, etc etc. I agree that adding one enzyme that may help mitigate one possible long term problem looks like promoting the safety of decidedly unsafe products.
    HC also does not protect us from radically unsafe (by European and scientific standards) levels of radiation from cell-phone relay towers-corporations rule again. I promise to write HC, and thanks again. Best, Chris
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Victoria, BC
    PS

    Hi, Islandfinn; tried to edit, but got lost; I did do a quick check of the Health Canada website, and failed to find out a way to post a comment--found a search engine under "current consultations" but neither "acrylamide" nor "asparaginase" turned up anything. Do you know how to send them a comment? Best, Chris
     
  5. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    Hi Chris

    THe Health(?) Canada website is a Dickensien experience, isn't it.

    If you click on the link to the CBC article in the first post, on the right you will see an 'External Links' title. Under it is
    Asparaginase proposal, Health Canada which will take you to the Health Canada page on the proposal (oh - I just did it for you - you can click here). About 2/3 of the way down there are instructions for how to contact them by snail mail or email.

    if:)
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Senior Member

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    Victoria, BC
    Thanks!

    Thank you, Islandfinn--your link works--and apologies for being such a web klutz. I am going to think a bit about a response--the write up says, among other things, that "it is expected that the enzyme will be largely heat-inactivated during the manufacture and/or preparation of food (for example, during baking or frying)," leaving it unclear whether the stuff will actually have any significant effect. And the "Maximum level of use" will be determined by "Good Manufacturing Practice"--i.e. at the whim of the manufacturers (I hate reading about food as "manufactured"!) No information on the sources of the enzyme --will take a further look. And no info on whether there will be mandatory label informing of the presence of the product--my guess is not.
    Best, Chris
     
  7. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury member

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    go Chris go! you are 'the best"!

    bet I could out web-klutz you on many days
    if:)

    BTW - it might be fun to start an oxymoron thread

    here we've got

    "the 'Maximum level of use' will be determined by 'Good Manufacturing Practice' ie companies will self-regulate ie there is no 'good about it

    and I always love 'internet security'

    and maybe Health Canada should be one?

     

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