Today's lucky winner is....drumroll...... calcium proprionate!
This ingredient was in every packaged bread and wrap on our local grocery stores shelves today! Of course, this unidentified substance made me curious so I came home to research it. Boy, am I glad I resisted the urge to pick up those wraps "just this once."
Calcium Proprionate is used in bakery products as a mold inhibitor. Not only does it inhibit mold, but it is used in some countries as a pesticide. I guess it inhibits bugs too, and apparently the bugs, unlike the FDA, are smart enough to realize it is poison. Calcium Proprionate has been condemned by the Pesticide Action Network in North America as being "slightly toxic." PAN also has stated concerns about the effect of this chemical on the water supply.
Studies in Brazil have shown that rats given proprionates have shown evidence of brain alterations and learning deficits. My question, of course, upon reading that was, How can you tell if a rat has a learning disability. Easily, apparently, because a rat fed proprionate to the equivalent of 3 slices of bread per day to a 6 year old child, was unable to learn the mazes. These studies are being continued, as scientist strive to prove that proprionates can affect a young child's brain, causing serious developmental delays and behavioural issues.
Two of the biggest bread producers in Australia are currently phasing out the use of Calcium Proprionate in their products based on parent outcry.
If Calcium Proprionate is in everything on the shelves, how can you purchase baked goods without this toxin? I go to a local bakery and purchase my bread. They carry a great line of whole wheat bread, dinner rolls, and hamburger buns. The foods there are perfectly clean. You must store them in the refrigerator or they will spoil quickly (small price to pay!) I sometimes freeze the bread in slices, ready for the toaster. In our small town I have yet to find wraps that are clean, so I will post that when I find it. For Mexican food we have been using a clean corn tortilla that we found at the grocery store.
We will definitely be avoiding this one!