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Food Warnings (I): Toxic Pasta Withdrawn From Shelves

puke-pasta.jpgThis probably sounds scarier than it is, but today it was revealed that leading Hungarian cereals maker Cerbona has recalled some of its pasta sold under the “Durillo” and “Durum” brands. Tests on the tészta showed it had excessive levels of deoxinivalenol – a.k.a. vomitoxin – which despite its name mostly just causes diarrhea, unless consumed in very large quantities. If you’ve bought any such stuff with sell-by dates between May 13, 2011 and June 18, 2011 you can return them to the store where you get them for a refund, which you can then spend on some other Hungarian delicacy that will only give you a heart attack or diabetes.

  1. Andrea says:

    no comment.
    never too late to learn,to understand how much is important the QUALITY of the food for the health of everybody!! No comment, again!!!!

  2. rumburak says:

    Makes one wonder :
    a) why was the pasta tested AFTER it was already sent to the shelves?
    b) why the hell would it contain this vomit thing anyway? I mean, shouldn’t pasta just contain floor, water, salt and OK, some unavoidable E conservants?
    c) how many vomiting things hit our cupboards and freezers without ever being tested (even ex-post)?

  3. mike says:

    your heart is in the right place, but no…there is never any need
    for any numbers or letters in food. – no E1222, etc.

    need proof, move to Atlanta stateside and go to any of the
    number of whole foods markets or farmers markets [nothing
    like it here in hungary...the bio bolt here is a lie, at least in our
    city...they should be sued for selling icecream with numbers in
    it, totally against the term bio...but I digress]

    well, again there are numerous reasons for this…but its enough
    to know its the richer folks who can afford to eat healthy, and
    the middle class and lower who will be dieing of cancers. [you
    see the latest bbc article on being a vegetarian? Problem is no
    one knows or believes being a vegetarian can be fun till you
    hang out at the snack bar at the whole foods in Atlanta…food
    you wouldnt have dreamed of…again I digress

    Im passionate about this topic. – double boo [still thinking of
    our new bio bolt that is a joke and more, God save us that their
    idea of bio is the bio pig…dont eat pig folks…your heart will
    explode. [great great great grandmother, living 6 generations
    made it to 111, why do Hungarians cut it short? STress and pig
    fat in everything...]

  4. James says:

    I agree most E numbers are bad. however, vinegar and lemon actually have an E number so don’t asume all are bad.

  5. James says:

    For those who might be interested!

    E100–E199 (colours)
    E200–E299 (preservatives)
    E300–E399 (antioxidants, acidity regulators)
    E400–E499 (thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers)
    E500–E599 (acidity regulators, anti-caking agents)
    E600–E699 (flavour enhancers)
    E700–E799 (antibiotics)[citation needed]
    E900–E999 (miscellaneous)
    E1000–E1999 (additional chemicals

  6. Vándorló says:

    Some of the E numbers are simply shorthand for innocuous foods stuffs and pretty healthy things, too. E407 is carrageenan which is the vegetarian version of gelatin derived from the (Irish named) seaweed of the same name see http://www.faia.org.uk/enumbers.php
    Also, not all chemically derived substitutes are as harmful as the naturally occurring foodstuff. The red foodstuff colouring (typically used to colour pomegranate/ juice) made from the seven-spotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) is more carcinogenic that the factory made chemical derivative (2-Anthracenecarboxylic acid, 7-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-9,10-dihydro-3,5,6,8-tetrahydroxy-1-methyl-9,10-dioxo-) of the same – and doesn’t involve crushing real lady beetles in the process.

  7. nk says:


    You are talking about cochineal/carminic acid, right?

    Cochineal is NOT typically (if at all) produced from Coccinella septempunctata but from Cochineal (usually Dactylopius coccus). It isn’t a ladybug, but a cactus scale insect.

    Furthermore, while cochineal has its issues, neither it nor carminic acid (synthetic derivative) are known to be carcinogenic. In fact, cochineal/carminic acid replaced the now known to be carcinogenic synthetic red dyes that are were once used in the U.S.

    The main problems with cochineal as a food additive is that it is not vegetarian/vegan, people can be sensitized to it (e.g. it is a potential allergen–the synthetic version also shares this problem), there is a possible link to hyperactivity, and some religions avoid foods made with it.

    As far as I know, cochineal is not used to dye pomegranate juice–there is no need. There are some products marketed as pomegranate this or that which use cochineal to add color because there is either no pomegranate juice or a sparing amount used.

    It’s funny that no one who read the article (or who wrote it?) did any research on vomitoxin. It is a naturally occurring mycotoxin produced by specific fungal infestations of grain. Testing should have eliminated this grain from the food supply at the field/distributor level before it was ever used to make pasta. Unless of course someone was trying to save money…

  8. Vándorló says:

    @nk: Thanks for the info and corrections. All useful stuff.
    I had misremembered a report I read some 5 years ago on naturally occurring and manufactured/engineered foodstuffs relating to the Cochineal. And did try to track this down without success, which should have rang warning bells.
    Anyway, really helpful, cheers.

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