Fighting the Myths of Isogluphosphate

Recent attacks on the well-tested food additive, isogluphosphate, have shown, once again, how the activist fear-mongers are prepared to destroy food quality for some sad naturopathic fundamentalist dogma. Without viable alternatives, a ban of this important additive will lead to countless snack brands being removed from European shelves.

As a synthetic emulsifier which binds to certain flavour-enhancers, isogluphosphate has enabled snack manufacturers to produce ultra-pure, low-calorie food products. Its benefits include simulating salty flavouring without the increased sodium risk factors, longer snack shelf-life and texture intensifiers providing consumers with crispier chips, crunchier biscuits and flakier pastries. A large part of Europe’s high quality food manufacturing reputation is dependent on the continued availability of isogluphosphate, commonly referred to as the additive of the century.

So it comes as no surprise that the food Ayatollahs, naturopathic organies and anti-industry activists would join together to spread fear and falsehoods over the safety of isogluphosphate. Here are some of the more outrageous myths that need to be addressed:

Isogluphosphate does not lead to cancer

The recent study commissioned by the Center for Food Safety was so riddled with methodological weakness as to be laughable. Their rat study had no significant control group, used a rat species highly susceptible to tumours when faced with imbalanced diets and the dose-levels were far above any realistic exposure levels. EFSA executive director, Bernhard Url, referred to this study as one more futile case of politically-driven activist science.

Isogluphosphate does not cause hyperactivity or autism in children

Moms Across America recently published a correlation study where they attempted to link the increased global consumption of foods with isogluphosphate to trending rises in hyperactivity in children. The data on this is of extremely low quality with difficulties in measuring hyperactivity and regional variations in diagnosis. Moms Across America once again is showing their interest in blaming the food industry for behavioural patterns for which all parents must take responsibility. Correlation studies do not represent causal relationships and, on their own, are quite frankly useless. The latest paper by MIT’s Stephanie Senneff suggesting a link between isogluphosphate and autism goes beyond words. Putting two similar graphs together and drawing a conclusion without any medical justification is, simply put, poor science.

Isogluphosphate does not lead to obesity

The food industry offers delicious choices to bring pleasure to responsible consumers. While some consumers may over-indulge in crisps or biscuits, the low calorie, low sodium levels in isogluphosphate actually reduce any potentially negative health effects. Recent claims by HEAL’s Isogluphosphate Taskforce that the gluten content leads to weight gain is baseless. Even at long-term, low-dose exposure levels, it  is just too insignificant to even factor into any rising obesity levels.

Isogluphosphate is not a significant endocrine disruptor

While it is impossible to rule out endocrine disrupting properties of any substance, natural or synthetic, the potential risk factor is negligible. Compared to birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy treatments, EDCs levels for isogluphosphate are hundreds of thousands of times lower; compared to daily consumption levels of coffee, soybeans and humus, isogluphosphate exposure levels are thousands of times lower. The recent study by the Endocrine Society failed to factor that into their research, preferring to focus on the hazard-based analysis.

Isogluphosphate is not addictive

In a recent European Parliament Hearing on Isogluphosphate, European Green Party adviser, Axel Singhoffer, made a totally unsubstantiated claim that this food additive was linked to chemical addiction. His attempt to march a group of so-called victims onto the platform is just one more case of how Axel abuses his European Parliament observer status and tries to hijack the political process. None of these children have any documentation that would indicate any substance addiction and Axel knew well enough that the rights of privacy for children would shield his little stunt from any corroboration.

The Isogluphosphate Council has not lobbied improperly

Last week’s Corporate Europe Observatory exposé into industry lobbying on the continued use of isogluphosphate was once again filled with biased innuendo and half-truths. There are no former Council members on any EFSA boards and there has been no attempt to influence the risk assessment either directly or through ILSI. The Council transparently complies with all lobbying regulations and codes of good conduct. That CEO has no internal expertise on food additives or any understanding of basic chemistry shows once again what a sad band of ambulance chasers these little zealots have become.

The proposed precautionary ban on isogluphosphate will devastate European snack production, increase food safety risks and lead to potentially hundreds of thousands of job losses. There are no alternatives that will satisfy consumer expectations and could lead to the wider use of less healthy products. While certain Member States with minimal snack food manufacturing industries have been lobbying Juncker’s cabinet for the ban, most industry players have been silent. Seeking derogations for individual isogluphosphate applications is far from a sustainable strategy. Food manufacturers need to wake up and not merely think of their own short-term interests.

For more information, the Risk-Monger will be speaking at the SnackEx 2017 conference in Vienna on June 22nd where I will be defending the continued use of this vital food additive. It is only in the Age of Stupid that we need to be having this ridiculous conversation.

Full disclosure: David Zaruk has agreed to represent the Isogluphosphate Council members in Brussels and will charge representation fees for any lobbying required to defend this essential food additive.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. chrislegg1 says:

    Today is June 1st, not April 1st, but is this post satire? (Certainly you have done a great job of identifying all the key criticisms on which the enemies of innovation and modern agriculture like to expound.) I have never heard of isogluphosphate, and neither Google, Bing nor Yahoo provides any mention of it online. Thanks!


    1. riskmonger says:

      Thanks Chris for taking the time to do the research. The Isogluphosphate website is coming soon and Google should have more content shortly (especially as the Antis are taking swings at me and Isogluphosphate on twitter!)


  2. JMS Martins says:

    If you do a Google search, you will find dozens of “educated” and “scientific” references where “glyphosphate” is used instead of “glyphosate”. Perhaps this sort of trendy functional illiteracy is the cause of this mad attack on the food additive (by the way, the same kind of functional illiteracy may read “addictive” where is or should be written “additive”…).


    1. riskmonger says:

      Thanks for the points, but I am told that Mr Singhoffer believes that isogluphosphate is addictive!


  3. Geoff Granville says:

    Hi there. I am on your mailing list. I am a retired toxicologist who worked in the Canadian petrochemical industry for all my career, and now follow chemicals management as a hobby (I know, I should “get a real life”!). I have not previously heard about isogluphosphate, and cannot find any helpful results from a Google search. Could you provide me a CAS number or similar alternative?

    Keep up the good work – I appreciate your efforts!



    1. riskmonger says:

      Thanks Geoff,
      Indeed until today little was known about isogluphosphate. But after my blog, many anti-chemicals activists have picked it up and are joining in on the campaign. I suspect they do not like anything I would defend (whether or not it is an actual substance). I will bring their concerns to the SnackEx conference should any food manufacturer decide to someday use this mystery additive 😉


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