7 Food Additives Banned in Europe but Allowed in the US

November 4, 2023 6 mins to read

Let me preface this article with a 30 second story…Anna, was an American who became adopted a gluten-free diet due to health recommendations, and her healthy health greatly improved after months off gluten. But when Anna arrived in Italy for vacation she couldn’t resist the allure of it’s world famous pizza and pasta! So Aanna said “When in Rome…!” and went on a pizza binge. But to her surprise, unlike in America, she didn’t have any of the uncomfortable symptoms she did when consuming bread in America…so just what was going on?

The List of 7 Foods Banned in Europe But Allowed in USA

Why didn’t Anna react to bread in Italy? The answer likely lies in each countries different regulations around food additives – Europe Vs USA….In light of that, let’s go over 7 foods that are banned in Europe, but still allowed in the USA!

1. Titanium Dioxide: The White Out

In the US, this whitening agent is commonplace in packaged foods. However, the EFSA’s stance is clear: it’s a no-go due to potential DNA damage. The US still permits it, despite the risks highlighted by studies.

2. BHA and BHT: Antioxidants or Antagonists?

These preservatives prevent spoilage, but at what cost? It’s linked to immune issues and carcinogenic (cancer causing) potential, they are tightly controlled in Europe. Meanwhile, they remain a staple in many American snacks.

3. Synthetic Food Colorings: A Spectrum of Concerns

Bright hues come with dark shadows — research research shows it’s connected with behavioral challenges and hyperactivity (including ADHD). The EU requires warnings; California has banned Red Dye No. 3. Yet, a host of other toxic food dyes are still largely allowed in the USA, and common in many ultra-processed/packaged foods.

4. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO): Not Your Average Emulsifier

Once a common ingredient in sodas and sports drinks, BVO is under fire for its potential neurological (damage to brain neurons) and reproductive harms. The EU has banned it, but the US still allows it.

5. Azodicarbonamide (ADA): Not Just for Yoga Mats

This chemical, found in bread and plastics, is banned in the EU. In the US, however, it’s still making its way into American baked goods, despite the toxicity concerns shown by new research.

6. Potassium Bromate: The Bread Enhancer with a Side of Risk

Prized for its texturizing properties, potassium bromate is scrutinized for its carcinogenic (cancer causing) potential for a range of different cancers. Europe has banned it; some US states are catching up, albeit slowly.

7. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH): Boosting Milk at What Cost?

Used to increase milk production, the EU banned rBGH over endocrine disruption concerns. In the US, it’s still used, although you can avoid it by choosing organic dairy.

The differences in regulatory practices are stark:

  • The GRAS (Generally Recommended As Safe) List: In the US, many additives are self-regulated by the manufacturers as “generally recognized as safe.” The EU, on the other hand, does not have this loophole.
  • Reassessments: The EU regularly reassesses additives for safety; the FDA does so at its discretion – and you all know my thoughts on FDA corruption.

The Bottom Line: Be Your Own Food Detective

Take some responsibility by actively involving yourself in your grocery shopping. I understand with inflation budgeting can be an issue, but if you take the time to investigate food labels, you can often find an equally priced product without the toxic food additives. Or just barter at local farmers markets! If you follow me on my social media channels, i’ll try to keep you up to date. But you must keep yourself informed, because your health and that of your family really can depend on your grocery shopping choices.

So next time you zip to the grocery store and start mindlessly stuffing your cart because you’re in a rush…slow down and read ingredients. If you’re at a restaurant don’t feel your a nuisance by asking about ingredients, when it’s your health that matters. The reality is if everyone complained about these food additives and voted against those brands with their money (rather then buying it anyway), these companies would remove the toxic additives from their food or go bankrupt, and most would do the ladder.

Stay tuned for more insights and remember, eat consciously and live vibrantly!

Stay Healthy Wellness Army!


  1. EFSA: Titanium dioxide: E171 no longer considered safe when used as a food additive
  2. Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Titanium Dioxide Classified as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans
  3. Genotoxicity of titanium dioxide nanoparticles
  4. NIH – 15th Report on Carcinogens [Internet] – Butylated Hydroxyanisole
  5. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of butylated hydroxytoluene BHT (E 321) as a food additive
  6. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of butylated hydroxyanisole – BHA (E 320) as a food additive
  7. Potential impacts of synthetic food dyes on activity and attention in children: a review of the human and animal evidence
  9. California 1st to Ban Common Additives in Sweets Linked to Cancer, Behavioral Issues
  10. https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/product-requirements/food-labelling/additives/index_en.htm#consumers
  11. Parliamentary question – E-013572/2015 Banned emulsifier in soft drink
  12. Behavioral and reproductive effects of chronic developmental exposure to brominated vegetable oil in rats
  13. EWG Watch for this Harmful Chemical in Your Soda
  14. Food-added azodicarbonamide alters haematogical parameters, antioxidant status and biochemical/histomorphological indices of liver and kidney injury in rats
  15. Respiratory symptoms associated with the use of azodicarbonamide foaming agent in a plastics injection molding facility
  17. An Assessment of the Effects of Azodicarbonamide-containing Diet on Neurobehaviour, Brain Antioxidant Status and Membrane Lipid Peroxidation Status in Rats
  18. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – Summaries & Evaluations POTASSIUM BROMATE (Group 2B) VOL.: 73 (1999) (p. 481)
  19. Dose-response studies on the carcinogenicity of potassium bromate in F344 rats after long-term oral administration
  20. Carcinogenicity of potassium bromate administered in the drinking water to male B6C3F1 mice and F344/N rats
  21. EWG Potassium Bromate
  22. American Cancer Society: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone
  23. FDA Generally Recommended As Safe (GRAS)
  24. Out of balance: conflicts of interest persist in food chemicals determined to be generally recognized as safe
  25. EFSA – Food Additives

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