Food safety standards in the United States have been questioned in a viral TikTok video surrounding ingredients used in fast food.
There is festering concern that US residents are acting as “lab rats” for food safety politicians following a viral video highlighting dangerous ingredients in popular products like McDonald’s fries.
While the US leaves a lot to be desired for fast food serving sizes, the country’s lackluster food safety standards have now come under the spotlight in a TikTok video.
Creator AJ Matson highlighted in a video last week the vast difference in American products’ ingredients compared to the brand’s identical product in the UK.
“Major companies sell safer versions of their products all around the world, [but] not in the United States,” Ms. Matson told viewers. More than 10 ingredients are listed for the US version of McDonald’s fries, including seven highlighted in red to indicate potentially hazardous.
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The UK equivalent had nothing of the sort and instead featured just potatoes, vegetable oil, dextrose, and salt in its ingredients. In Australia, Macca’s fries contain potato, canola oil, dextrose, and mineral salt. There may be traces of sulfites (less than 10 milligrams per kilogram).
The McDonald’s fries and a host of other popular products were subject to lax safety standards in the US, allowing companies to take advantage of cheap loopholes.
“The UK takes a precautionary principle approach meaning that they ban or put a warning label on things that are potentially risky,” Ms. Matson argued. The US does the opposite; they don’t do that until it’s proven to be risky. We are the lab rats.”
She also showed the difference in ingredients of Quaker oats in the US and UK, highlighting how the US product “has no actual strawberries in it”. “It’s flavored and colored fruit pieces, whereas the UK version has actual dehydrated fruit,” she said.
Mountain Dew was even worse, with the US version containing a petroleum-based food dye called Yellow 5 and brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which is banned in most other countries.
Heinz, the company behind cult classic condiment, Ketchup, was also slammed for including high fructose corn syrup in its US product – an ingredient that research has shown to have an additive effect on the brain.
Doritos were another product with a mile-long ingredients list in the US, which included dyes made from petroleum. Such paints have in the UK been found to be contaminated with carcinogens, and when included in a product, it must state that it “may hurt activity and attention in children”.
Thousands responded to the video in shock, and some suggested the structure of the US healthcare system had something to do with the sub-par food safety standards.
“Other countries don’t allow poison as food. They’re not trying to make their people sick because healthcare is covered by the government,” one wrote.
“Because America profits off of the sick, where other countries pay for their healthcare, so they want healthy people,” another said. Others pointed out that in some cases, the same ingredients were used but just given different names relative to the country they would be sold in.