Ever been to the USA and noticed their sweets are much brighter in colour, their burgers are much saltier and their bread is much denser? Whether you think this makes the food more appealing or tastier or not – it is safe to say the reason behind this is one for concern.

The lax food laws overseas mean that many of the foods you can buy in the USA contain food additives which are actually illegal in Europe. Americans may be exposed to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals every day due to this.

Most would consume these foods with the logic that- if its sold in store then it must be fine – right? Wrong! In the USA, many food additives are still used which are proven to be harmful effects of peoples health and have even been banned in Europe. So, are we just a pedantic continent, or is the US crazy for allowing these ingredients to worm their way in to their produce?

Focaccia, baguettes, sourdough, and brioche – Europe is well known for its delicious breads. There is one ingredient that our bread is lacking by the American standard – potassium bromate. Without giving you a science lesson – this chemical is used to strengthen dough.


But it comes with more than just this punch – it is a known carcinogenic too. This means it has been shown to link to cancer. And guess what- it is not banned in the US. Known to cause nose, throat and lung irritation as well as coughing and wheezing – this is one nasty chemical.

Considering Europe’s famous reputation for tasty bread that does not involve this dangerous additive – it is baffling why America even use it in the first place?

How on earth is this allowed I hear you ask? Companies are able to use these products due to a loophole in Drug Administration that allows them to decide for themselves if an ingredient is generally safe.

Next time you fancy a sweet treat in the US, be warned of the potential for it to contain Titanium dioxide. This is a whitening agent used in sweets and pastries– even your favourites such as Skittles and Starburst have been found to contain this chemical.

sweets with food additives
American Sweets

No wonder- their colours have a much higher vibrancy than those in Europe! I think I would rather stick to duller sweets without the carcinogenic thank you!

BVO, a type of vegetable oil that contains bromine can be found in many American diet and citrus fizzy drinks. This chemical prevents the liquid separating- an issue I don’t recall having over in England despite the lack of BVO if I’m honest.

American Fizzy drinks

Exposure to the chemical bromine in the long term can cause neurological issues and memory loss, impaired balance and coordination and headaches.

Ever been to Arby’s for a croissant? Well careful- it contains Azodicarbonamide – a chemical used to bleach flour. This is linked once again to cancer.


It used to also be used widely in many American fast food chains including McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, but they have fazed those out now. Once again, this chemical is banned in Europe, and again- I don’t recall ever complaining that my croissant was not white enough!

If other countries can make foods arguably just as delicious without such dangerous food additives, it leads to question why the US cannot do the same!