Recently, the national food safety risk assessment center of the people’s Republic of China released the special monitoring results. The results showed that the aluminum content in 40% of the food exceeded the national standard by 2-9 times. More than 30% of the individuals in the population had weekly aluminum intake exceeding the World Health Organization standard. Among them, children aged 4-6 years had the highest aluminum intake, which was 2.6 times of the safe intake! In fact,

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are not new problems. Since more than a decade ago, some experts have called for aluminum excess to cause harm to modern people, but few people have paid attention to it. People are more likely to pay attention to sensational news or even rumors, but this kind of down-to-earth health risk is only studied and investigated by scholars. Now, in the face of solid data, the problem of “excessive aluminum intake” has finally aroused the general concern of the whole society.

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people can’t help but ask: where did the excess aluminum come from?

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aluminum exists in the natural environment, but the content of aluminum in natural food is generally very low. Aluminum in human food mainly comes from aluminum containing food additives, namely potassium alum (aluminum potassium sulfate) and ammonium alum (aluminum ammonium sulfate).

hearing a chemical word, most people will have a sense of panic. But if you think about the middle school chemistry course carefully, you will remember that alum is a chemical commonly used by ordinary people. Since ancient times, people have found that alum is very useful, but the ancients did not know what harm it had, so they did not pay attention to it, only feelings.

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for example, there was no tap water in the past, so people in many places had to use alum to purify water, because after hydrolyzing to produce aluminum hydroxide, it could combine with colloidal particles of suspended solids in negatively charged water, making them lose the electric repulsion force and agglomerate and settle down, making the turbid water clear and transparent.

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are also very early, long ago, people found that alum can improve the sensory quality of food. According to the vocabulary of modern food additives, many compound additives added with alum can be called “food quality improver”. It can be said that alum is a kind of “all-round” food quality improver ingredients that are licensed by many countries.

for example, according to the traditional technology, fried fried fried bread, fried shrimp slices and other fried food, you need to add alum and some baking soda. This is because alum can react with sodium bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide, which makes noodles bulky when heated. Some studies have found that in order to achieve the best puffing effect, the amount of alum added will far exceed the safe amount. After understanding these, I am glad that only during the festival can I eat fried shrimp slices when I was a child. I love to eat this food when I was young.

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in addition to fried dough sticks, cakes, steamed buns, steamed buns, cake, corn cakes and many soft and porous cakes and snacks can theoretically be helped by alum. Of course, the cake can be directly beat with eggs, but after adding baking powder, the cost can be greatly reduced by using less eggs. Steamed buns can be fermented with natural yeast, but they can’t compare to the soft and bulky degree after adding baking powder. Without baking powder, the taste of corn cake will be hard and unpopular. With baking powder and porous soil, even children like to eat it.

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however, the classic formula of this baking powder is mainly composed of sodium bicarbonate and alum. Of course, there are many alternative formulations, and baking powder can be completely aluminum free. However, the formula without aluminum, to achieve the same effect, the cost will be much higher. Since consumers don’t pay attention to the problem of how much aluminum they eat, producers naturally choose cheap aluminum containing baking powder to use.

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a few years ago, a test conducted by the school of food, China Agricultural University found that aluminum in extruded food exceeded the standard by one third. This is because the leavening agent can make the texture of puffed food more crisp, and “crispness” is the texture characteristic that puffed food is proud of, and it is also the main killer to attract consumers. Aluminized leavening agent has low price and good effect, and the manufacturer naturally loves it. After that exposure, many enterprises have carried out raw material reform, perhaps now the situation has improved. However, the aluminum content of all kinds of fake products produced by small food manufacturers in villages and towns and the crispy snacks that children like best are really worrying.

however, the role of alum is far more than that. It can also make flour food more powerful, such as noodles, noodles, dumpling skin and so on. Alum has a place to use, and borax is a similar principle. In addition, it can also make frozen food taste more elastic, such as vermicelli, vermicelli, jelly, cold skin, rice skin, tofu and so on. In short, as long as consumers love this elastic taste, producers can use it. Because I know this secret, whenever I eat those starch products and flour products that are too strong, and see those dumpling skins that can’t be broken, I always feel a little psychological barrier

salted jellyfish skin and jellyfish head products are also the most often added alum food, because it is used, the taste is particularly good, special q-shell. Even some fish and shellfish products may be added. In addition to these foods,

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are also sources of aluminum. Because these drugs that neutralize gastric acid often contain aluminum hydroxide. If taken for a long time, the intake of aluminum should not be ignored. Another important source is aluminum tableware, lunch box, kettle, pot, etc. Twenty or thirty years ago, aluminum products dominated the kitchen, while stainless steel products only took the place of aluminum pots, pots, lunch boxes and pots.

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will surely have friends asking: is there no standard to limit aluminum in food? Of course, there are

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standards. According to Chinese food additive standard gb2760-2011, alum can be used in bean products, wheat flour and its products, shrimp slices, baked food, aquatic products and its products, as well as puffed food. Think about it. What do you and your kids eat every day? Bean products, aquatic products, pasta, baked food and puffed food, which is not what children eat? They can be made with alum, because this is the work handed down by the ancestorsNo wonder modern food industry. The standard of

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states that the amount of alum used is “proper addition according to production needs”. In other words, how much you want to add depends on what effect you want when you produce the product. Of course, the addition amount is not unlimited, aluminum residue must be ≤ 100mg / kg dry product. However, for small enterprises and even manual workshops, this standard is basically meaningless, because they can’t determine any residual amount, or even can’t understand what the number means. Standards cannot guarantee that, in some cases, aluminum residues will not exceed this amount in order to achieve the best taste.

however, if the aluminum intake is greatly exceeded, what will be the trouble?

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aluminum are not trace elements needed by human body, and the human body’s absorption capacity is not strong. However, if the long-term excessive intake, it has accumulation, can be deposited in the brain, lung, liver, bone, testis and other tissues, accumulated to a certain amount of chronic toxicity. Excessive intake of aluminum can cause nervous system lesions, and may even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The long-term high-dose consumption of food with excessive aluminum content in growing children may lead to neurodevelopmental impairment and mental retardation. Excessive aluminum acts on bone tissue, resulting in the loss of calcium deposited in the bone, while inhibiting bone formation, which may promote osteoporosis. In addition, aluminum is toxic to the hematopoietic system and immune system, and hinders the absorption of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and other elements. According to the standard of

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, how much aluminum does it take to exceed the standard? In 2011, the World Health Organization and the food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (who / FAO) temporarily revised the weekly allowable intake of aluminum to 2mg / kg body weight per person. The EU standard is lower, which is 1mg / kg body weight / week. According to the WHO / FAO standard, for a 60 kg adult, the weekly intake is 120 mg, that is, the daily intake is not more than 17 mg. However, this amount is really easy to exceed.

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according to the monitoring of national food safety risk assessment center, aluminum content in some areas of China is worrying: the average aluminum content in baked pasta (bread) on the market is 126 mg / kg, that of steamed pasta on the market is 149 mg / kg, and that of fried dough sticks is 495.6 mg / kg. The extruded food, which is popular among children and teenagers, contains 300 mg / kg aluminum. If you eat a lot of these foods for a long time, the aluminum accumulation in the body can’t be simply described as “exceeding the standard”.

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have some ways to reduce aluminum intake.

1 do not eat or eat less fried food with puffy or crisp texture, such as fried dough sticks, oil cakes, sesame, Sanzi, shrimp slices, etc., and the puffed food should also be strictly limited. These foods are inherently low in nutritional value. Besides aluminum, there are many other safety risks. It is wise to stay away from them.

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2 were steamed bread and pastry made by natural fermentation or aluminum free leavening agent. When buying steamed bread, steamed buns, steamed buns, steamed bread, jujube cakes, corn cakes, etc., don’t be too soft, because pure yeast fermentation is not as soft and porous as that with alum.

3 when eating noodles, noodles, etc., don’t pursue the tenacious taste of excessive elastic teeth. Long time cooking is not necessarily an advantage. Maybe we should worry about it.

4 vermicelli, cold noodles, vermicelli, rice peels and so on, do not pursue the taste too elastic. Due to the low nutritional value of this kind of starch products, it is OK to eat occasionally, but not often as a meal.

(editor in charge: Wang Jianqi)

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