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Using Food Preservatives Ethical Essay

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Updated: Apr 29th, 2022

Have you ever questioned how foods like potato chips and methi- paranthas exist in the house all through the year? How comes they never get spoilt? It is because they have preservatives, which become added after preparation. Food preservatives are substances that boost the shelf existence of foods in different ways, wit the aim of stopping deterioration (Packard, 1976). At present, the use of chemical food preservatives have gained prevalent use as many people have become tailored to the convenience of buying food that is already prepared, instead of preparing and preserving their food. The widespread use of chemical preservatives has raised concerns regarding ethics. This paper shall review various works on food preservatives, and make a discussion that will lead to the conclusion on whether food preservatives are ethical.

Literature Review

Food preservatives exist in two forms namely: natural preservatives and chemical preservatives. Natural preservatives consist of salt, oil, sugar and acids. Conversely, some chemical preservatives include sodium sulfite, sorbic acid, BHA, benzoate, BHT, Nitrates and Monosodium Glutamate (Johansson & Haahtela).

Benefits of using Food Preservatives

Food preservation has several benefits. One of these benefits can be found in a circumstance whereby a farmer harvests a lot of yield, and, so as, to keep such food for future use, he needs to use preservatives (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). Also, developed countries need to distribute food to poor counties, especially, when they experience famine. Such food must be preserved, in order it can get to the target country when it is still in proper condition. Another reason behind food preservation is that it gives us a variety of meals (Eccles, 2010). Preserving food allows us to eat different foods, even when they are out of season. Consuming vegetables from cauliflower, in the months of summer, makes meals appealing. Similarly, eating papad, pickle or chatni increases variety.

Preserving food allows food to get to regions that do not grow such food (Eccles, 2010). For instance, Himalayan regions, which get covered by snow for a long time, and Rajasthan, which is an arid region require preserved food, so as, to increase nutritive value and variety of meals, since few foods can grow, in these areas. Transportation of canned fruits and dried peas, in such regions, is an excellent idea.

Preserving food, also, eases storage of foods and transportation as it reduces volume (Russell & Gould, 2003). Thus, preserved food occupies little space, in stores and cargo spaces. For instance, when leafy vegetables, such as, coriander and mint become dried, their volume and weight decreases thus easing their storage.

Using preservatives increase food safety (Russell & Gould, 2003). Food preservatives, which have antimicrobial properties, prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold, thus preventing people from suffering several diseases (Russell & Gould, 2003). This function of antimicrobials can be said to be the most precious impact of using preservatives. Alternatively consumers would be exposed to diseases like botulism, which have grave consequences on the health of human beings.

Food preservatives make shipping of canned foods and prepackaged foods possible (Russell & Gould, 2003). Preservatives, such as, nitrites and nitrates can be used for preserving and curing different meats including luncheon, bacon or ham. This adds convenience to the entire transportation and delivery process.

Food preservatives enhance the appearance and flavor (Russell & Gould, 2003). A number of preservatives that aid to maintain flavor include sulphites, tocopherols and sulphur dioxide (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). According to Russell & Gould (2003), preservatives add nutritional value to food, as the nutrients that get lost in the process become replaced.

Use of preservatives reduces food waste, as it slows down the process in which foods get spoilt (Russell & Gould, 2003). Fresh fruits and vegetables get spoilt easily because of enzyme action. Also, oils and fats become stale when they come in contact with oxygen. Such a situation may be avoided by using antioxidant preservatives, which extract free radicals that facilitate chemical breakdown.

Potentially Dangerous Facts of Using Preservatives

According to Johansson & Haahtela (2004), nitrites and nitrates lead to ailments such as nausea, asthma, headaches and vomiting, besides, allergic reactions, although, they can be used to preserve meats, for instance, bacon and ham.

Also, sulfites like metabisulfites and sulfur dioxide, which become used to inhibit browning of peeled vegetables or fruits, as well as, fungal spoilage cause allergic reactions. Sulphites can, also, lead to hyperactivity and asthma (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004; Russell & Gould, 2003).

Sodium nitrite, in a number of foods, can be transformed to nitrous acid after consumption. A test of sodium nitrite on animals revealed that the presence of nitrous acid is a potential threat to cancer (Karin & Greten, 2005).

Sodium benzoate / benzoic acid, which become added to fruit juices, carbonated beverages and margarine, may cause rigorous allergic reaction or even fatality in some people (Karin & Greten, 2005). Also, benzoates may lead to health issues, such as, migraine headaches, hyperactivity, urticaria, asthma, skin reactions and gastric irritation (Russell & Gould, 2003).

Sulfur dioxide, which becomes used to dry molasses and fruits, on top of inhibiting browning on peeled fresh foods like apples and potatoes (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). Sulfur dioxide whitens rot, thus, hiding substandard vegetables and fruits. As a result, vitamin B, which fruits and vegetables contain, becomes damaged.

Ingestion of 5 grams of Tertiary ButylHydroQuinone (TBHQ) may cause death (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). Other dangerous outcomes of using TBHQ include vomiting, Nausea, delirium, tinitis and clouding of the eye lens (Karin & Greten, 2005). Such outcomes get associated with only a gram of TBHQ.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), distresses various body functions including brain function, allergic response, blood pressure, endocrine system, digestive system, hearing, hypoglycemia, heart rate, lungs, thyroid function, nervous system, vision, hypothalamus and pancreas role (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004).

Methods of Preserving Fresh Foods

Salt has a preservative role, in addition to taste (Karin & Greten, 2005). Salt serves as a preservative in chatni, sauce, pickles and canned food. Alternatively, salt can be used to preserve fish through rubbing and sprinkling on its body (Russell & Gould, 2003). Increasing the amount of salt in the food alters its composition. Osmosis occurs, due to the presence of salt in the food. Therefore, water gets extracted from the food. As a result of reduction, in levels of water in food, the growth of micro organisms becomes limited, and the food grows to be safe. Also, salt decreases the actions of enzymes, thus stopping food from getting stale (Karin & Greten, 2005).

Sugar is, also, employed as a preservative in some foods, such as, murabbas, jams, squashes and jellies. Sugar becomes added to these foods for both taste and preservation purposes. The quantity of sugar has to be accurate, so as, to prevent them from spoiling. Sugar liquefies in the water that is present in the food item. As a result, less water becomes available for the development of micro-organisms. Therefore, the food grows to be safe for consumption.

Acids augment the acidic substance of food items, thus inhibiting the development and activity of micro-organisms (Hall, 1977). Sour food items, such as, vinegar, lemon juice and citric acid can be used as preservatives. Vinegar can be used to preserve tomato ketchup, and onions, while lemon juice may be used in pickles.

Also, oils and spices can be used as preservatives, in pickles. Mustard powder is an example of a spice that can be used as a preservative. This spice inhibits the increase of micro organisms, thus avoiding spoilage.

When pickle gets prepared at home, oil gets poured to coat lemon, mango or other vegetables. The oil serves as a shielding cover and has two benefits. Firstly, it inhibits air contact with food. Therefore, micro organisms can not develop and destroy the food. Secondly, it inhibits micro-organisms contact with food.

Dehydration

Dehydration involves extracting moisture or water from foods (Hall, 1977). Sun drying is the home technique of drying out. Some foods, such as, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables and ginger can be dried directly. Other foods get cooked ahead of drying.

Lowering Temperature

Using low temperature to preserve foods follows the theory that low temperatures reduce enzyme and microbial action (Russell & Gould 2003). Hence, food is safe from spoilage. The period for which such food can be preserved through low temperature differs with temperatures and nature of the food (Russell & Gould 2003). Food that becomes subjected to extremely low temperatures can be preserved for a long duration.

Increasing Temperature

Micro organisms and enzymes become damaged, through escalating temperature, making food secure from spoilage (Russell & Gould 2003). However, there are several micro-organisms, which may not get damaged at elevated temperatures (Russell & Gould 2003). Such organisms may spoil food items when the temperature becomes decreased. The two chief ways of preserving foods, in this way, include sterilization and pasteurization.

Pasteurization involves heating food to an elevated temperature and then cooling it, rapidly (Russell & Gould 2003). Micro-organisms become damaged, in this case, as they can not endure the abrupt change in temperature (Russell & Gould 2003). Nevertheless, some organisms may not be damaged by this method.

Sterilization involves exposing food to elevated temperatures for a long duration, or else, under pressure (Russell & Gould 2003). This ensures that food is free from any organism that is live.

Methods of Preserving Canned Foods

Foods may be preserved by chemicals such as nitrates and nitrites, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), benzoates, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), MSG, sulphites, TBHQ and Tocopherols (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004).

Nitrates and nitrites are mostly used to preserve fish products and red meat (Russell & Gould 2003). They protect meat from obtaining the brown color, and, also, inhibit harmful bacteria, which may cause food poisoning, from growing. Nitrates become added to several canned foods to avoid spoilage (Russell & Gould 2003).

BHA is mostly used as a preservative in a number of packaged foods and meats, in the U.S. (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). BHA protects fats from becoming stale. It is common in beer, snack foods, meat, baked goods, butter, chewing gum and potatoes. Also, BHA can be found in various cosmetics and pharmaceutical goods.

Benzoates, also called Benaene Carboxylic Acid, denote preservatives that are both odorless and tasteless (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). Benzoates can be used to expand the shelf life of foods, such as, margarines, soft drinks, sauces, fruit juices, jams, pickles, ketchup, cider, baked goods, cheeses, milk-shake syrups, as well as, several pharmaceutical commodities (Russell & Gould 2003). Some examples of benzoates include Calcium benzoate, Methyl-p-hydroxy-benzoate, Benzoic acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Potassium benzoate, Sodium benzoate and Propyl-p-hydroxy-benzoate.

BHT acts to stop fats from the oxidative rancidity. Also, BHT preserves food color, flavor and odor. Since it is a chemical preservative, BHT can be used to preserve all the foods that use BHA.

MSG is commonly used to preserve food, in America. MSG adds flavor to food, and is much preferred as it is cheaper to use than actual food ingredients (Karin & Greten, 2005). Examples of foods that have MSG include flavored snack chips fried chicken, canned tuna, fresh turkey, as well as, instant and canned soups.

Sulphites denote sulphite compounds, such as, sulphur dioxide and other compounds of sulphur, which can be used to preserve food (Packard, 1976). Sulphites exist in foods, such as, canned vegetables, soups, fruit juices, biscuits, sauces, jams, French fries, lemon juice, dried fruits, vinegar, instant coffee, wine and coconut syrup (Packard, 1976). Sulphites may stop browning, in vegetables, some alcoholic drinks, dried fruits and fruit juices. Also, it may cause bleaching, in foods. Some sulphites include Potassium bisulphite, Calcium sulphite, Calcium hydrogen sulphite, Potassium sulphite, Sodium metabisulphite, Sodium bisulphate dioxide and Sodium Sulphite.

TBHQ can be found in various commercially made foods, such as, foods in cafés (Packard, 1976). However, obtaining accurate information regarding TBHQ is complicated. TBHQ acts as an antioxidant, in foods, which implies that it is a chemical preservative (Packard, 1976).

Tocopherol, also called vitamin E, normally acts as a preservative in foods (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). It qualifies to be brought up here since the Tocopherols/vitamin E, which gets utilized in preserving foods usually, originates from the oil of soybean. Hence, persons who are extremely allergic to soy should understand this fact, and foods that contain the preservative (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). Tocopherols may, as well, come from several other food sources except soy. Some of these include sunflower oil, palm oil, corn, tree nuts, olive oil, wheat germ, kiwi fruit and seabuckthorn berries.

Difference between Methods of Preserving Fresh Foods and Canned Foods

According to Packard (1976), the key difference between methods of preserving fresh foods and canned foods is that fresh foods get, mostly, preserved by physical methods whereas canned foods use chemical methods. Fresh foods get preserved using methods, such as, increasing temperatures, lowering temperatures dehydration, use of sugar/salt. On the other hand, canned foods get preserved using chemicals, such as, BHT, BHA, nitrates/ nitrites, benzoates, MSG, sulphites, TBHQ and Tocopherols, and, consequently, fresh foods, although preserved, can only last for a few days, whereas canned foods can last for years (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004).

Differences between Canned Foods and Fresh Foods

The most remarkable discrepancy between fresh and canned food is their savor (Packard, 1976). Fresh foods preserve their savor and improve the taste of everything that one cooks them with, as they retain all their natural conditions, or else, fresh foods retain a natural flavor during the cooking procedure (Packard, 1976). Canned foods, nevertheless, lack flavor since they consist of many chemical substances, which get added to them, in order to guarantee the preservation. While such chemicals may be assumed to be tasteless they alter the savor of food, in which they become added.

Also, a study by Packard (1976) revealed that canned foods lose multiple nutrients through the preservation process. Since canned foods get stored for long durations, the original, fresh food nutrients get destroyed. Besides, the process of preserving canned foods entails the use of multiple chemical elements, which lengthen the shelf life and aid in keeping freshness of the food. In the course, some vital nutrients, to the human body, get spoilt (Packard, 1976).

Canned food substitutes the actual nutrition of food with preservatives that are somewhat poisonous, in order to remain fresh for a long phase of time (Packard, 1976). Hence, fresh food is healthier than canned food, since it is free from such semi-toxic preservatives.

Also, heat-sensitive or water-soluble minerals and vitamins are usually reduced in canned food, in the quest to maintain it as shelf-stable (Russell & Gould, 2003).

Fresh foods have lower quantities of salt and sugar than canned foods. Fresh foods are, also, less expensive than canned foods, particularly when certain food items are in season (Russell & Gould, 2003).

Lastly, fresh foods have natural colors whereas artificially preserved foods have chemical coloring, which gets added, in order to, cover for the loss of color that occurs in packaged foods because of air exposure, shelf life, as well as, temperature and moisture variances (Packard, 1976; Russell & Gould, 2003). Such colorings may be, also, added to make foods further enjoyable and attractive.

The Perspective of Canada on Food Preservatives

Food preservatives, in Canada, get controlled by Health Canada, under the Food and Drug Regulation (Curran, 1953). Only definite food preservatives can be utilized, in Canada, and they have strict procedures for their utilization.

All accepted food preservatives and their provisions can be found in the 16th Division of the Regulations (Curran, 1953). In cases where the Regulations do not tolerate the use of a certain food preservative, the producer should file a food additive compliance, in reference to, Section B.16.002 of the policies ahead of such a food preservative being presented in the Canadian markets (Curran, 1953). The compliance should have detailed information regarding the preservative, its recommended use, the outcomes of safety examinations, and information on the efficacy of the food preservative for its designed use (Russell & Gould 2003).

Scientists in Health Canada’s Food Directorate carry out a precise and comprehensive market assessment of compliance that centers on safety (Curran, 1953). The assessment reflects on the toxicological features of the suggested use of the preservative, in addition to, related nutritional/ microbiological aspects.

Food preservatives, in Canada, have to be of apt quality. Also, they should be effectual for their designed function (Russell & Gould 2003). According to Canadian food policies, preservatives should not pretense a hazard to the wellbeing of the user (Curran, 1953). The Bureau of Chemical Safety, in Health Canada, directs the evaluation of submissions on food preservatives (Curran, 1953).

However, the Canadian regulation controls sugar and salt as foods, but not as preservatives, since it does not consider salt and sugar as food additives (Russell & Gould 2003).

Discussion

From the review above, food preservation can be viewed as both ethical and unethical. However, the negative impacts of preservation outweigh the positive impacts. Hence, we can say that use of food preservatives is unethical. To support this statement, I will examine both the ethical and the unethical part of using food preservatives.

First, using food preservatives may be viewed as ethical because it facilitates distribution of food from developed states to undeveloped nations, especially, when they experience famine, as discussed by Eccles (2010). Food preservatives, in this context, get used to ascertain that food gets to the target country when it is still in proper condition.

Also, food preservation may be viewed as ethical because it boosts food safety. Using preservatives prevents people from suffering numerous diseases, since they have antimicrobial traits, which do not support the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold. If it were not for such preservatives, consumers would be exposed to diseases like botulism, which have severe consequences on the health of human beings. The antimicrobial role of food preservatives can be said to be the most valuable impact of using preservatives.

Another ethical reason behind food preservation is that it makes it possible for us to vary meals, as discussed by Eccles (2010). Food preservation enables us to access different foods, for consumption, even when they are not in season. For instance, some foods, such as, vegetables from cauliflower, can only be available in the months of summer, through food preservation. This makes meals to be attractive, in addition to, enhancing variety.

Also, use of food preservatives may be viewed as ethical as it makes it feasible for farmers to keep surplus food upon harvest, as illustrated by Johansson & Haahtela (2004). The point here is that farmers can use preservatives to store food, for future use, when they harvest a lot of yield.

Russell & Gould (2003) tells us that food preservation is valuable, as it eases storage of foods and transportation as it reduces the volume. Again, preserving food may be viewed as ethical because it makes it possible for food to be transported to different areas, even those that do not grow such food. Examples of such areas may include the Himalayan regions, which get covered by snow for a long time, and Rajasthan which is an arid region. Preserving food for transportation into such areas is beneficial as it increases variety and nutritive value of meals, in such places. Shipment of canned fruits and dried peas, in these regions, is an excellent idea. Using preservatives that necessitate condensation of food makes such food to occupy little space in stores and cargo spaces. This, in turn, eases transportation.

In addition, food preservative may be viewed as ethical because it enhances savor. Adding preservatives boosts nutritional value of food, as those ingredients that get lost in the course of some methods of preservation become replaced by other nutrients.

Again, food preservation may be viewed as ethical, since it decreases food waste, through slowing down the process in which foods get spoilt. The enzyme action makes fresh fruits and vegetables get spoilt easily. Also, when they come in contact with oxygen, oils and fats become stale. The use of antioxidant preservatives, which extract free radicals that facilitate chemical breakdown, avoids such a situation.

Besides, using food preservatives may be viewed as ethical because it makes shipping of prepackaged and canned foods possible. Nitrites and nitrates get used for preserving and curing different meats including luncheon, bacon or ham. This is ethical as it adds convenience to the entire transportation and delivery process.

On the other hand, using preservatives can be regarded unethical, since it has several dangerous impacts on human health. First, using Tertiary ButylHydroQuinone (TBHQ), leads to death, and has other disturbing effects, such as, vomiting, delirium, Nausea, tinitis and clouding of the eye lens, as revealed by Johansson & Haahtela (2004). Such effects are harmful to the health of humans. Hence, food preservation can be viewed as unethical. Second, sulfites like metabisulfites and sulfur dioxide, which become used to inhibit browning, as well as, fungal spoilage cause allergic reactions, as revealed by Johansson & Haahtela (2004). Sulphites can, also, lead to hyperactivity and asthma. All these effects are harmful to the well being of humans. Other food preservatives that harm the health of human beings include Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium nitrite, Sodium benzoate, Sulfur dioxide, as well as nitrites and nitrates.

First, monosodium Glutamate (MSG), affect various roles of the body including blood pressure, brain function, allergic response, endocrine system, digestive system, hearing, hypoglycemia, heart rate, lungs, thyroid function, nervous system, vision, hypothalamus and pancreas role.

Second, Sodium nitrite, in a number of foods, can be transformed to nitrous acid after consumption. A test of sodium nitrite on animals revealed that the presence of nitrous acid is a potential threat to cancer.

Again, Sodium benzoate / benzoic acid, which become added to fruit juices, carbonated beverages and margarine, may cause rigorous allergic reaction or even fatality in some people. Also, benzoates may lead to health issues, such as, migraine headaches, hyperactivity, urticaria, asthma, skin reactions and gastric irritation.

In addition, Sulfur dioxide whitens rot, thus, hiding substandard vegetables and fruits. As a result, vitamin B, which fruits and vegetables contain, becomes damaged.

Furthermore, nitrites and nitrates, lead to ailments such as nausea, asthma, headaches and vomiting, besides, allergic reactions.

Lastly, although we said that using food preservatives may be viewed as ethical because it facilitates transportation of food, from developed states to undeveloped nations, such a process involves emission of fossil fuels to the environment, which is unethical, as adds to global warming.

Conversely, discrepancies between fresh and canned food illustrate that use of artificial preservatives is unethical. First, preservatives make food lose their natural taste. While fresh foods preserve their taste and improve the taste of everything that one cooks them with, canned foods lack flavor since they consist of many chemical substances, which get added to them, in order to guarantee the preservation. Hence, use of food preservatives is unethical as it alters the natural taste of food, which human beings should enjoy.

Also, use of preservatives is unethical because it makes canned foods lose multiple nutrients through the preservation process. The original, fresh food nutrients get destroyed, due to use of food preservatives. This is because the course of preserving canned foods entails the utilization of multiple chemical elements, which lengthen the shelf life and aid in keeping freshness of the food. In the course, some vital nutrients, to the human body, get spoilt. Food preservation becomes unethical, since such loss of vital elements to the human body may cause malnutrition.

Again, food preservatives are unethical because artificially preserved foods have chemical coloring, which gets added, in order to, cover for the loss of color that occurs in packaged foods because of air exposure, shelf life, as well as, temperature and moisture variances. Such colorings interfere with the actual composition of food. Hence they are unethical.

Conversely, use of fresh foods preservation methods, such as, sugar, salt, dehydration, pasteurization and changing temperatures may be viewed as ethical. Salt serves as a preservative since it can absorb water, which creates a medium for growth of micro-organisms. For instance, salt can be used to preserve fish through rubbing and sprinkling on its body. When salt becomes rubbed or sprinkled on fish, it absorbs all the water from the fish through osmosis. As a result of reduction, in levels of water in food, the growth of micro organisms becomes limited, and the food grows to be safe. Also, salt decreases the actions of enzymes, thus stopping food from getting stale. Such a process can be regarded as ethical since it does not add any harmful chemical substance to foods.

Also, use of sugar to preserve food is ethical. Sugar gets added as a preservative in some foods, such as, murabbas, jams, squashes and jellies. In this case, Sugar acts as a preservative through liquefying, in the water that is present in the food item. As a result, less water becomes available for the development of micro-organisms. This process is ethical because the added sugar does not interfere with the chemical composition of present nutrients. Thus, all nutrients become retained, and no health harm becomes posed to human beings.

Besides, use of acids in food preservation is ethical. Acids aid food preservation by inhibiting the development and activity of micro-organisms. Sour food items, such as, vinegar, lemon juice and citric acid can be used as preservatives. Since the acids used in this process are from food items, they do not pose any health risk.

Use of dehydration in preserving food is, also, ethical. Dehydration involves extracting moisture or water from foods. Dehydration may occur in the form of sun drying, which is the home technique of drying out food. Some foods, such as, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables and ginger can be dried directly. Other foods get cooked ahead of drying. Since no harmful chemical substance gets used in this procedure, the process may be termed as ethical.

Besides, using low temperature methods in food preservation is ethical. This is because low temperatures just reduce enzyme and microbial action, but do not interfere with the chemical composition of food, or add any toxic substances to food. The process merely ensures that fresh foods are safe from spoilage. Food that becomes subjected to extremely low temperatures can be preserved for a long duration.

Similarly, using high temperature food preservation methods is ethical. Such methods involve e damaging micro organisms and enzymes, which makes food secure from spoilage. The two chief ways of preserving foods, in this way, include sterilization and pasteurization. Pasteurization involves heating food to an elevated temperature and then cooling it, rapidly. Micro-organisms become damaged, in this case, as they can not endure the abrupt change in temperature.

Nevertheless, some organisms may not be damaged by this method. On the other hand, sterilization involves exposing food to elevated temperatures for a long duration, or else, under pressure. This ensures that food is free from any organism that is live. These methods are ethical because high temperatures just reduce enzyme and microbial action, but do not interfere with the chemical composition of food, or add any toxic substances to food.

The unethical perspectives of food justify concerns of Canadians on food substituent in their meals. The Canadian government has a regulatory branch to control the use of food preservatives in Canada. Curran (1953) explains that food preservatives, in Canada, get controlled under the Food and Drug Regulation, by Health Canada. Only definite food preservatives can be utilized, in Canada, and they have strict procedures for their utilization. All accepted food preservatives and their provisions may be seen in the 16th Division of the Regulations. In cases where the Regulations do not tolerate the use of a certain food preservative, the producer should file a food additive compliance, in reference to, Section B.16.002 of the policies ahead of such a food preservative becoming presented in the Canadian markets.

Any food preservatives, used in Canada, must be of apt quality. According to Canadian food policies, preservatives should not pretense a hazard to the wellbeing of the user. The emergence of such a strict food policy, in Canada, is a confirmation that use of most food preservatives is unethical.

Conclusively, food preservatives are unethical, since most chemical/artificial food preservatives have lethal effects on human beings. Chemical food preservatives, such as, Tertiary ButylHydroQuinone (TBHQ), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium nitrite, Sodium benzoate, Sulfur dioxide, as well as nitrites and nitrates have harmful effects on health. Also, use of food preservatives interferes with the ingredients, savor and color of natural foods. Hence, people should embrace the use of physical methods of food preservation, such as, use of salt and sugar. Such methods are ethical methods of food preservation, as they do not interfere with present food ingredients, or cause any toxic effect.

Although, it may be argued that food preservatives have several benefits, the demerits of food preservatives outweigh the merits. For instance, it may be argued that use of preservatives facilitates the storage of food for future use. However, it does not make much sense to store food using toxic substances that may pretense negative health effects. Again, it can be argued that preserving food allows food to be transported to regions that do not grow such food. However, this point may not be ethical since the dominant form of transportation uses petroleum, which emits compounds that contribute to global warming.

In addition, use of preservatives denies us the original taste of food, besides interfering with food nutrients. Although it can be argued that such lost nutrients can be substituted by some preservatives, such preservatives cannot measure up to the original nutrients, as they are chemical, in nature.

Since the demerits of food preservatives outweigh the merits, we can say that food preservatives are unethical, as they may pretense hazards to the wellbeing of users. Thus, all governments should lay down strict policies to regulate the use of food preservatives. The first step in forming such policies should be identifying an umbrella under which such policies can be controlled. The second step should be establishing the Act under which the policies can be categorized.

For instance, Canada categorizes all accepted food preservatives and their provisions can be found in the 16th Division of the Regulations. The third step should be deciding policies relating to use of preservatives and procedures for their utilization. Such policies should provide room for producers to file a food additive in compliance to policies, in cases where the policies do not tolerate the use of a certain food preservative. Such compliance should have detailed information regarding the preservative, its recommended use, the outcomes of safety examinations, and information on the efficacy of the food preservative for its designed use. Such measures would ensure that preservatives do not pretense hazards to the wellbeing of the users.

References

Curran, R.E (1953). Canada’s food and drug laws. Michigan: Commerce Clearing House.

Eccles, R.G. (2010). Food preservatives: their advantages and proper use; the practical versus the theoretical side of the pure food problem. London: BiblioBazaar.

Hall, R, L. (1977). Safe at the plate. Nutrition Today, 12(6), 6–9.

Johansson, S.G & Haahtela, T. (2004). Prevention of allergy and allergic asthma World Allergy Organization project report and guidelines. Basel: Karger.

Karin, M. & Greten, F.R. (2005). Linking inflammation and immunity to cancer development and progression. Nature Immunology, 5, 749–759.

Packard, V. (1976). Processed foods and the consumer: additives, labeling, standards, and nutrition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Russell, N.J. & Gould, G.W. (2003). Food preservatives. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

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