Q: "Why does PCC carry cereal that has wall-paper stripper in it (not EVEN as the last ingredient)? The product I am talking about is Cheerios™. Are you aware that Cheerios contain trisodium-phosphate? I went to several Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn more about TSP ... It is used as a wall-paper stripper, WAS ... an industrial floor scrub until EPA and OSHA deemed it too toxic for employees to breathe ... I called General Mills and they did confirm that TSP was in fact an ingredient ... however they made no statements as to why." — Marna Marteeny
A: Marna, I contacted General Mills. Here's an excerpt from their response: "TSP is used as a buffer to adjust the acidic nature of the cereal dough. In home cleaning products TSP is used in large quantities. In our food products we use very small amounts. Theoretically, any food grade base could be used: sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, ammonium phosphate, etc. At General Mills we have found that TSP works best in our particular products, and has been approved as safe for use in food by the Food and Drug Administration."
"As soon as TSP dissolves in the gastric juices of the stomach it is no longer present as such, only as sodium ions and a phosphate ion. In fact, this disassociation takes place even earlier, during the making of the cereal as it performs its buffering job. So one consumes very little — if any — TSP. It's important to note that the body doesn't distinguish the source of simple ions, whether they came in as an inherent part of the food or as part of an added ingredient. These ions are consumed naturally in large amounts in foods and water and they're both necessary for life. The body already has 'pools' of each ion; TSP in cereal adds just a few more 'drops.'"
This isn't the first time we've heard consumers question the presence of TSP, although we've never been able to actually find anything that indicts its low-level presence as harmful — however shocking "eating TSP" may sound! The other possible "buffers" mentioned by General Mills would also raise questions with most natural foods consumers, no doubt, though they don't "ring bells" as TSP does, because we've all seen it in Spic 'n Span floor cleaners and wallpaper stripper, as Marna notes.
Cheerios got into PCC as a WIC (Women and Infants) program item, and it is PCC's number one best-selling cereal. PCC carries one other conventional cereal (Grape Nuts) and our organic choices far outnumber them.
To its credit, Cheerios is made of whole grains, so it has a good profile for protein, carbohydrates, minerals and fiber, and is very low in sugar. It generally gets high marks from consumer rating groups (such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest) when rating cereals. Personally, my daughter Mary buys organic Nature O's, not Cheerios, for my young granddaughters and they love them. But I usually have Cheerios when traveling, since they're served at hotel breakfast buffets and they're usually more nutritious than other choices. At home? I eat oatmeal and granola.
Given alternatives, it's not really worth getting our tail in a twist about a non-organic cereal when we have so many organic ones to choose from. There are enough serious consumer food issues — such as GMO's, seed patenting, and irradiation, not to mention the levels of processed food that tempt consumers — that TSP in Cheerios is easily dodged. I applaud you, however, for asking questions, doing the research that raises red flags, and for questioning the reply sent by General Mills.
Doug Collins of the Washington Toxic Coalition also looked into your questions and adds, "the strongest argument is that there are acute dangers to workers who are handling concentrated TSP. It is the hazard from this kind of exposure that is described by the MSDS she mentions.
"Goldie's response sounds very well reasoned," says Collins. For substances like vinegar and TSP, where harmful effects only occur from exposures to the concentrated material, it is all a matter of dilution. Like TSP, vinegar can be used as a household cleaner. Acetic acid (vinegar is about 5 percent acetic acid) is now being used as an herbicide, but vinegar is also an ingredient in salad dressing."
If you'd like more information, Collins suggests the Toxnet website: toxnet.nlm.nih.gov.
-------------------- This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever... Posts: 6552 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2002
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I love cheerios, not many mass market commercial brand cereals use whole grains anymore. They're a staple in my home. Trisodium phosphate isn't a concern really, it's not allowed to be used in huge enough quantities in foods to cause problems.
ranran "oh no, there's dihydrogen monoxide in my paint and my drink!!!" yousei
Edit: boooo Jay Tea beat me there weren't any responses yet when I started.
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Cheerios repeats on me bad. Makes my burps smell like farts.
-------------------- The views expressed in the above Post does not necessarily reflect those of snopes,The Infopoop Corporation,the Internet or most of society for that matter. Posts: 2474 | From: Scranton, PA | Registered: Apr 2003
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The Red and the Green Stamps
quote:Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat: Don't see what the fuss is all about.
Veering slightly OT but is it really worth it to buy only organic food? Are GMO's, seed patenting, irradiation, and processed foods really worth fussing or worrying over?
Well, on the whole, no. Really it is overblown by many people. However, in a day and age where you can buy 'foods' that are barely even food anymore, it's a retaliation.
For some people, the slightest alteration from the most pure and natural is a sin.
For me, as much as I like my foods as whole as possible, I also don't hunt or farm or gather, so preservatives are necessary to some extent.
If I'm going to be making my famous Apfel Kuchen, where I have to grate a lemon peel, yes, I will buy organic. If I'm going to make fresh lemonaid (not that I do that), where the peels get tossed, I'm going to buy regular Vons lemons. For me, it's a matter of balance. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't (in my own head). Sometimes there is a taste difference too (like with my coffee ).
One point, however: There is such a thing as too much processed foods. Most processed foods conatin a lot of salt. Too much salt is bad for you. Blood pressure, heart thingies, you know. As long as you aren't living soley on Swanson's and Campbell's and Sara Lee, but also enjoy fresh fruits and veggies and actual home cooked meals, processed foods are pretty much fine and dandy.
quote:Originally posted by Jay Tea: Ranran' - you is spanked!
Don't tell my husband, he'll get jealous!
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quote:Originally posted by TheBobo: Cheerios repeats on me bad. Makes my burps smell like farts.
LOL me too! I adore Cheerios...but, like garlic & raw onions, only eat them when I'm not going to see anyone for awhile. Also, bf says that after eating them, the next day (or thereabouts) his urine smells like them.
quote:Originally posted by Nolly: LOL me too! I adore Cheerios...but, like garlic & raw onions, only eat them when I'm not going to see anyone for awhile. Also, bf says that after eating them, the next day (or thereabouts) his urine smells like them.
Nol 'The O's turn into P's' ly [/QB]
I eat'emup cheeiros daily for 20 years, though I eat them dry - no milk. Hadn't noticed the garlic & onions, but then maybe I've got a natural garlic & onion taste/smell OR added milk causes it.
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To clarify, what I meant was that I treat Cheerios like I treat garlic and onions...I only eat them when I'm not going to see anyone because they make my breath stinky. Ew. I wonder what's in Cheerios that makes them do that.