Brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, is used in a number of citrus-flavored sodas and sugary drinks in order to emulsify the ingredients mixed in the solution. Excessive consumption of BVOs has been linked to memory loss, tremors, fatigue, and loss of muscle coordination, and the additive has been banned in Europe, India, and Japan. Read the ingredient label of all citrus-flavored drinks in order to avoid consuming BVOs.
Food Colorings and Dyes
Despite it's adverse effects to human health, and children's health in particular, artificial food coloring is found in many candies, cereals, drinks, salad dressings, and processed foods in the US. In the European Union, the safety of added colorings and dyes is strictly regulated by a specific Color Directive, but the US isn't as strict. To avoid these unsafe colorings, opt for organic foods or foods that use only vegetable colorings.
Potassium bromate is used as a flour improver, strengthening the dough and allowing it to rise higher, but it has also been found to be carcinogenic. For this reason, it's use in food produces has been banned in Europe, Canada, Nigeria, Brazil, South Korea, Peru, Sri Lanka, and China. Although several US bakers have voluntarily stopped using it, the United States has not banned potassium bromate. To be sure you're avoiding it, read the labels of foods you by that are made with dough.
Bovine growth hormone has been shown to cause a health issues for both cows and humans alike, leading to it being banned in Canada and the European Union, but it's still legal in all 50 US states. Look for labels that say "no added hormones" (all milk will naturally contain some hormones), or go with FDA-regulated organic milk.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used a preservatives in some breads and rolls, and they have been linked to cancer risk, asthma, and behavioral issues in children. Avoid foods that list either BHA or BHT as ingredients on their labels.
One of the biggest food controversies today surrounds genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Genetically engineered foods could have long-term health effects on humans and are also bad for the environment. While most countries are required to label GMO foods, the US is not. The only way to avoid GMO foods in the US is to buy organically or to find foods with a non-GMO label.