Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preservatives, a rant,

I've been a fan of reading labels on things I buy from the store for a while (triggered by my convinction that artificial sweeteners gave me migraines) but since my husband is in on the vibe (he's a fan of Michael Pollen, author of In Defense of Food and the Omnivore's Dilemma) it's been open season.

Since we got back to South Africa I have been shocked by how impossible it is to get some foods without additives at Pick 'n Pay. For example, all yoghurts, except Bulgarian a friend told me, have pimaricin, which destroys all the good bacterial cultures that make yoghurts so great. Our cream cheese also had it in, so I have now resorted to buying all our dairy produce at Woolies.

Another thing that shocked me was the fact fruit juices called "Real Juice" seem to resemble a chemistry lesson rather than squashed fruit. Even our beloved Ceres has something called "Nature identical flavourant" - something that is chemically identical to the real deal, but is created in a lab ... no wonder their new Mango juice tastes so good! Pure Joy juice has a label with no suspicious ingredients, but dear hubby said it didn't taste as good - you just can't win against those flavourants.

So the question is - is this a South African thang, or was it just that the labels were in Dutch before?


  1. maybe there are less regulations here?

  2. that could be it. i agree, it's pretty scary. short of going all 'una-bomber' and making everything from scratch we're pretty screwed. emme

  3. hey, i am interested to see you blame sweeteners for your migraines. i discovered at some point that any diet drink gave me an instant headache so i cut out aspartame. even now if i get a headache i can usually find aspartame on a label i forgot to read. it's in everything over here from flavoured water to hot chocolate to gum. Although E numbers and the like are frowned upon, aspartame seems to be completely acceptable particularly in the "sugar free" drinks flogged to kids.

  4. Hmmm, I didn't know that about Ceres, how upsetting. I have been buying my dairy from Woolies for ages. Their yoghurt is definitely the best in terms of health. Fortunately it tastes great too. You can also get freaked out by all the stuff on labels, but I guess we have to educate ourselves and make sure we make the best choice given our options.