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Surprising additives in common foods

Surprising additives in common foods

Informative … bet you didn’t know many of our common foods have some scary additives in them.

I don’t know about you but I was pretty darn surprised to learn that Cheezels STILL have MSG in them (hidden as additive 621).

There are more than 300 additives approved for use in Australia and while many of them have no adverse health impacts and help to preserve certain foods it is worth being informed about just what you’re feeding your family.

My mother-in-law pulled out a great old book the other night that helps to explain the confusing additive numbers on food labels.

The Australian Food Guide, Vital Facts About The Foods We Consume by Damien Davis was first published in 1989 and despite changes to the packaging of the products, many of them still contain similar or the same ingredients.

My mother-in-law used the book when my husband and his siblings were little and I’ve found it super interesting.

Here are some of my favourite pages in the book and if you want some healthy alternatives that you can feed your family, you can find some of my tasty recipes here.

Lanai xx



I used to love Cheezels as a kid and my husband still loves them now. And hey, I know they’re not a superfood, but I was shocked to learn that they contain MSG (additive 621) and two other additives — diosodium guanylate (627) and diosodium inosinate (631) — which are all not recommended for children. And whilst most of us wouldn’t feed our babies Cheezels, they are marketed in lunchbox-sized snack packs and often given to school aged children as snacks.

Surprising additives in common foods

Here’s a list of the current Cheezels ingredients to show they haven’t changed significantly since the printing of the guide.

Rice Bubbles

Snap, crackle and pop. Rice bubbles have been a favourite breakfast cereal of mine since I was a kid and they’re great for making chocolate crackles with. Whilst they don’t contain any nasty additives in them, according to the guide they actually have one of the largest sodium contents of any breakfast cereal. Since the guide was published Kellogg’s has added Zinc Oxide, Vitamin C and Folate to the ingredients list.

You can find the current list of Rice Bubbles ingredients here.

Surprising additives in common foods


Heinz baby food (Summer/Tropical fruit gel)

This has been improved since 1989 and it no longer contains potassium chloride (additive 508) but it does still contain carrageenan which helps the food to gel.

Admittedly you’d probably have to eat loads of carrageenan to actually see the possible negative health effects listed below but it’s worth noting and perhaps might influence you to choose a straight fruit puree rather than a gel.

Surprising additives in common foods

Here’s a list of the current fruit gel ingredients.

More information 

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has a great webpage detailing lots of useful information about food additives, why they are used in some foods and which ones are approved and most commonly used.

And CHOICE has a great article detailing all you need to know about food additives here.


Would you feed your family any of these foods? Are there any foods you’ve been surprised to learn contain certain additives or ingredients you’d be wary about? 


P.S. Don’t forget if you want the latest recipes from Good Baby Kitchen to sign up to our mailing list


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