Cancer risk from popular American snacks, warns Trading Standards

Imported Mountain Dew, Swedish Fish and Jolly Ranchers contain banned additives

Consumers in Scotland are being warned about the potential health risks of buying imported American snacks online or from local shops. Trading Standards officers have found that some popular products such as Mountain Dew, Swedish Fish and Jolly Ranchers contain artificial colours that are banned in the EU due to their link to cancer.

The banned additives are known as azo dyes and they include Allura Red (E129), Sunset Yellow (E110), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau 4R (E124). These colours are widely used in the US food industry to make products more appealing, but they have been linked to hyperactivity in children and tumour formation in animals.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there is no safe level of consumption for these additives and they should be avoided by everyone, especially children and pregnant women. The EFSA also warns that these colours may have adverse effects on the immune system and interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.

Trading Standards urge consumers to check labels and report illegal products

Trading Standards officers across Scotland have been conducting inspections and sampling of imported American snacks sold online or in local shops. They have found that many of these products do not comply with the EU food labelling and safety regulations and may pose a risk to consumers.

Cancer risk from popular American snacks, warns Trading Standards

Some of the products that have been identified as containing banned azo dyes are:

  • Mountain Dew, a carbonated soft drink that comes in various flavours and colours
  • Swedish Fish, a chewy candy shaped like fish that is usually red but also comes in other colours
  • Jolly Ranchers, a hard candy that comes in various fruity flavours and colours

Trading Standards urge consumers to check the labels of any imported food products they buy and to report any illegal products to them or to the Food Standards Agency. They also advise consumers to buy from reputable sources and to avoid products that do not have clear ingredients lists or that have labels that are not in English.

Consumers express shock and disappointment over their favourite snacks

Many consumers who enjoy imported American snacks have expressed their shock and disappointment over the discovery that their favourite products contain banned and potentially harmful additives. Some of them have said that they were not aware of the risks and that they will stop buying these products.

One consumer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I love Mountain Dew and I drink it almost every day. I had no idea that it contains something that can cause cancer. I feel cheated and angry. I will never buy it again.”

Another consumer, who also preferred not to be named, said: “I have a sweet tooth and I like to treat myself with Swedish Fish and Jolly Ranchers. I thought they were harmless and fun. I was shocked when I learned that they contain banned colours. I don’t want to eat anything that can harm me or my kids. I will look for alternatives that are safer and healthier.”

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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