FOOD FRIVOLOUSNESS: DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE

Among the many, almost unending, requests to take ingredients out of food to make them “safer,” Dihydrogen Monoxide is the latest of those requests – made by one in every 10 young adults.

The Millennials want the dihydrogen monoxide ingredient banned from food and beverages, primarily because it’s unpronounceable.  That is, primarily because they don’t know what it is.  Well, it happens that H20 is water.  Taking it out of food would be one thing, but taking it out of beverages . . . ?  Food companies try hard to comply with “food safety” concerns of customers.  They have, for example, taken monosodium glutamate out of food and have worked devotedly to reduce or replace red food dyes in candy, in particular.  Wait a minute . . . aren’t the people who want ingredients taken out of food, the same people who want to stop eating sugary foods?   Why, then, would they care about ingredients of products that they don’t eat?  Food researchers have recently come to believe that people are starting to demand that food ingredients that they can’t pronounce, or that are confused with other elements, be taken out.  For example, cyanocobalamin (or, Vitamin B12, useful in regulating cell and nerve function and often included as an ingredient in breakfast cereals) has recently been targeted . . . because, the name sounds like cyanide, unbelievable as that might sound.  I’m as concerned as the next person about the safety and purity of foods – see, for example, my post yesterday that questioned some practices proposed for the future.  However, in this instance, where regular, harmless ingredients are targeted to be taken out of products because there are unknowledgeable consumers making the demands, I’d suggest that we become proactive and include chemistry and nutrition classes in every youth’s public schooling education – if that were the case, at least, these individuals would become familiar with the fact that Dihydrogen Monoxide is H20 and, therefore, water.

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