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What parents should look for in food labels

Posted at 6:38 AM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 14:45:37-04

MILWAUKEE — Michelle Rimer is a registered dietitian who is a clinical assistant professor at UWM in the College of Health Sciences.

She walked around the aisles of a Milwaukee-area grocery store analyzing food labels with TODAY’S TMJ4 Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne.

We picked out three packaged foods popular with kids and asked for her input.

  • Fruit Roll-Ups

Rimer said to steer clear of dyes inside of packaged foods.

“We see color red 49, yellow 5 and 6 and blue 1,” said Rimer.

“So, there is some research that supports that dyes can actually increase hyperactivity in kids,” she continued.

  • Cap’n Crunch Cereal

Rimer said to watch out for a preservative, “BHA” or “BHT,” inside of some cereals.

“These are two preservatives that have been shown to cause cancer in animals,” she said.

  • Bologna

Rimer said to look for sodium nitrate or nitrite inside of lunch meats.

“Sodium nitrite has been shown to be a carcinogenic as well, and we find it in many processed meat products,” Rimer said.

If you have any questions about a food additive, you can research it on The Center for Science in the Public Interest.

TODAY’S TMJ4 contacted all three of the manufacturers for the food items we highlighted in our story.

Here is the response from General Mills (Fruit Roll-Ups) spokesman Mike Siemienas:

“We offer a variety of products so our consumers can make the decision on the products that best meet their individual and family needs.

"We have several fruit flavored snack products that do not contain colors from artificial sources.

"Food safety is our top priority and our products follow the latest FDA regulations on the ingredients we use," Siemienas said.