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  1. Recently I discovered that almost all processed meat products contain phosphates in them, to make them look more red and juicy. I tried to look for the info about phosphates in meat, but there are so many articles, some saying that it is dangerous, some that it is ok. It is really hard to understand what it really is. I like the articles on this website, they are concise and seem to be unbiased. Would you be so kind and write an article on phosphates in meat? I hope community will support my proposal with votes, this is a question concerning everyone who likes meat.
  2. Phosphorus is an essential dietary element and may be either organic or inorganic. They are required for bone and teeth formation, involved in the utilisation of carbohydrate and fats, and are critical for the maintenance, repair and growth of all cells and tissues.[1] Naturally occurring organic phosphorous compounds are not completely absorbed by the body and do not pose any known risks for health. In fact reducing intake of these natural phosphates may even result in protein malnutrition.[2] However inorganic food-grade phosphates, usually in the form of either sodium or potassium salts, are readily absorbed and may present a risk to health.[2]  Inorganic phosphates are used as additives in many meat and poultry products such as sausages, hams and salami, but are not used in fresh meat. They serve many purposes including pH stabilisation, increasing water retention capacity, shelf life extension and the improvement of texture, colour, juiciness and flavour.[1] There is also a suggestion that these added phosphates are beneficial in that they provide an additional supply of essential phosphorous to the diet.[1] [3] However another, more worrying view is that the impact of phosphate additives on general public health has been underestimated, as high phosphorus intake may be associated with a increased risk of mortality.[2] [4] Indeed several studies verify the harmful effects of these food additives, which include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and the progression of vascular calcification and plaque development within the arteries.[2] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] Elevated phosphorous levels have also been shown to promote bone loss and disordered mineral metabolism.[8] [9] In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or on dialysis, an excess of phosphorous can be dangerous[2] [5] [10] and contribute to renal impairment.[6] [7] [8] In fact one study showed that 12% of deaths in patients with advanced CKD (who have an annual mortality rate of 20%) were attributable to elevated serum phosphate.[2]  Lower socioeconomic groups may be more susceptible to these damaging effects, as they consume more “fast” and processed foods, known to have high phosphate content.[2] Between 1987 and 2007 average phosphorus consumption in the USA increased by 10–15%,[11] and as a result of recent concerns regarding health impact on the population, research is being carried out to find natural organic alternatives. The role of phosphate additives in meat products is largely commercial, enhancing visual ‘quality’, extending shelf life and enabling more water to be injected into the product. However these commercial benefits come with significant health risks. To avoid excessive phosphate intake, it is advisable to eat fresh meat instead of processed and avoid products containing phosphate additives whenever possible.     [1] Long, N. et al. (2011) Use of phosphates in meat products. African Journal of Biotechnology, 10(86), 19874-19882. [2]  Ritz, E. et al. (2012) Phosphate additives in food - a health risk. Deutsches Arzteblatt International, 109(4), 49-55. [3]  Carrigan, A. et al. (2014) Contribution of Food Additives to Sodium and Phosphorus Content of Diets Rich in Processed Foods. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 24(1), 13-19. [4] Chang, A. et al. (2014) High dietary phosphorus intake is associated with all-cause mortality: results from NHANES III. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 99(2), 320-327. [5] Sullivan, C. (2007) Phosphorous Containing Food Additives and the Accuracy of Nutrient Databases: Implications for Renal Patients. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 17(5), 350-354. [6] Kuro-o, M. (2011) A phosphate-centric paradigm for pathophysiology and therapy of chronic kidney disease. Kidney International Supplements, 3(5), 420-426. [7] Calvo, M. et al. (2014) Assessing the Health Impact of Phosphorus in the Food Supply: Issues and Considerations. Advances in Nutrition, 5(1), 104-113. [8] Calvo, M. (2013) Public health impact of dietary phosphorus excess on bone and cardiovascular health in the general population. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98(1), 6-15. [9] Giachelli, C. (2009) The Emerging Role of Phosphate in Vascular Calcification. Kidney International, 75(9), 890-897. [10] Takeda, E. et al. (2014) Increasing Dietary Phosphorus Intake from Food Additives: Potential for Negative Impact on Bone Health. Advances in Nutrition, 5(1), 92-97. [11]  Noya, C. (2008). Evaluation of a High PH Solution as an Alternative for Phosphate Meat. (1st ed.). USA: ProQuest.
  3. Cleaning and Sanitising  Cleaning and sanitising are two effective methods when it comes to washing utensils that come into contact with food. Cleaning involves using hot water and detergent in order to remove dirt from kitchen utensils. For more effective cleaning, using a scrubbing motion and a water temperature of 60°C is recommended.[1]  As for sanitising, the word sanitary is used to describe utensils and food contact surfaces which are free of microorganisms or where they are found in very low quantities, that do not pose a risk to human health and food safety. In order to sanitise the utensils, they must be first soaked in hot water for 2 minutes or more. The temperature of this water must be at least 75°C or higher.[1] Chemical sanitisers can be also used as an alternative to hot water sanitisation. These include: QACs (quaternary ammonium compounds) Chlorine release agents (hypochlorites) Iodophors (iodine based compounds). It is important to note that some of chemical sanitisers are toxic, so the food contact surfaces must be rinsed thoroughly in order to get rid of any chemical residue.[1] Antibacterial detergents have many benefits. Using them to wash the hands, utensils and food preparation surfaces can shield us from harmful bacteria that pose a threat to our health.[2] These liquids are known for their ability to keep microorganisms found in the dishwashers at bay. They also take part in preventing these organisms from moving from one item to another causing what is known as cross contamination.[2] However, one must use antibacterial liquids with caution. Certain chemicals such as chloroxylenol which is present in liquid soaps can cause skin irritation. Moreover, antibacterial dishwashing liquids may not be fully effective in reducing microorganisms which are found in kitchen utensils. In fact, an experiment has shown that using an antibacterial dishwashing liquid on kitchen sponges failed to reduce the number of bacteria found in this essential cleaning tool. These bacteria include Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus.[3]  Detergent Residues Detergents may leave the residue on the washing treated surface. This residue may end up ingested on a daily basis by people who use the dishwashing detergents.  Therefore, rinsing off the residue is necessary to minimise your exposure to dishwashing toxins. This rinsing step must be repeated twice to guarantee the removal of this residue.[4]  Hazardous Ingredients  Dishwashing detergent ingredients can be hazardous to human health. These ingredients include formaldehyde which is used as a preservative. Its side effects include nasal and eye irritation, increased risk of allergy, asthma and eczema.[5]  Coconut diethanolamide (CDEA), dishwashing detergent which is produced from coconut oil, is known to cause allergies, and is possibly carcinogenic as well. This is based on sufficient evidence that CDEA does in fact cause cancer in lab animals.[6]  Phosphates found in liquid detergents also have a negative impact on the environment. If too much phosphate accumulates in lakes and rivers, this leads to what is known as ‘nuisance growth’. Algae multiply in number, sucking up the oxygen from the water and preventing sunlight from reaching other living organisms. This decline in water quality is known as eutrophication.[7]  Triclosan, antibacterial chemical found in dishwashing liquids, is also a cause for concern since it promotes the growth of resistant bacteria.[8] Triclosan was found in three out of five human milk samples, indicating that the body does indeed absorb this chemical. Wild fish living in waters exposed to municipal wastewater also had traces of triclosan in their bile.[9] Due to its fat loving nature, this chemical ends up accumulating in fatty tissues. Exposure to triclosan is linked to low sperm production in lab rats. It also interferes with the metabolic functions of the thyroid gland by chemically imitating the thyroid hormone. Triclosan poses a threat to pregnant women if it reaches the placenta, where it negatively affects the estrogen enzyme sulfotransferase.[10]  Triclosan is also involved in a debate surrounding its possible effect on the production of chloroform, which is a toxic gas. This gas is produced in minor quantities when triclosan reacts with chlorinated tap water. Chloroform is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen.[11] 1,4-dioxane is another chemical that can be found in dishwashing liquids.[12] According to several laboratory studies, long term exposure to this chemical caused liver and nasal cancer in rats, in addition to harming their liver and kidneys.[13] In conclusion, dishwashing detergents may contain ingredients that are hazardous to human health, or those which health effects are not fully tested or examined yet. Therefore, it is important to know what your dishwashing detergent is made of before you trust it. Rinsing your kitchen utensils very thoroughly helps to reduce your exposure, via ingestion, to many hazardous chemicals the dishwashing detergent industry uses.  [1] Cleaning and sanitising food premises and food equipment. (2017). Ww2.health.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Cleaning-and-sanitising-food-premises-and-food-equipment  [2] Holah, J., & Hall, K. (2006). The effect of an antibacterial washing-up liquid in reducing dishwater aerobic plate counts. Letters In Applied Microbiology, 42(5), 532-537. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-765x.2006.01899.x [3] KUSUMANINGRUM, H., van PUTTEN, M., ROMBOUTS, F., & BEUMER, R. (2002). Effects of Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid on Foodborne Pathogens and Competitive Microorganisms in Kitchen Sponges. Journal Of Food Protection, 65(1), 61-65. http://dx.doi.org/10.4315/0362-028x-65.1.61 [4] Allowed Detergents and Sanitizers for Food Contact Surfaces and Equipment in Organic Operations. Ams.usda.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/8%20Cleaners%20and%20Sanitizers%20FINAL%20RGK%20V2.pdf [5] Facts About Formaldehyde | US EPA. US EPA. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://www.epa.gov/formaldehyde/facts-about-formaldehyde [6] Coconut oil diethanolamine condensate. (2013). Monographs.iarc.fr. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol101/mono101-005.pdf [7] 2010 to 2015 government policy: water quality - GOV.UK. Gov.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-water-quality/2010-to-2015-government-policy-water-quality#appendix-1-reducing-and-controlling-chemical-pollution [8] Connecticut Department of Public Health. (2014). Triclosan Technical Fact Sheet. Ct.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/environmental_health/eoha/pdf/triclosan_tech_fs.pdf [9] Adolfsson-Erici, M., Pettersson, M., Parkkonen, J., & Sturve, J. (2002). Triclosan, a commonly used bactericide found in human milk and in the aquatic environment in Sweden. Chemosphere, 46(9-10), 1485-1489. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0045-6535(01)00255-7 [10] Tufts University. (2011). Triclosan. Emerald.tufts.edu. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://emerald.tufts.edu/med/apua/consumers/personal_home_21_4240495089.pdf [11] EPA. Chloroform CASRN 67-66-3 | IRIS | US EPA, ORD. Cfpub.epa.gov. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris2/chemicalLanding.cfm?substance_nmbr=25 [12] Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,4-dioxane. Atsdr.cdc.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp187-c6.pdf [13] 1,4-Dioxane in Drinking Water: Questions and Answers. (2015). Mass.gov. Retrieved 11 November 2017, from http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/water/drinking/standards/dioxane-fs.pdf