Sodium hexametaphosphate is an ingredient in Hawaiian Punch.
I’m sorry, blue drinks and blue food aren’t natural. Wandering the grocery aisles yesterday I came upon Hawaiian Punch, first noticing this huge bottle of blue drink intended for kids. My yuck factor swung into high gear because, in my opinion, how can any responsible parent feed a blue liquid to their kids? Equally disgusting is the bright green one.
My environmental food journalist instinct compelled me to READ THE LABEL because I had to see what’s in this crap. Blah-de-blah-de-blah…, I scanned down past the high fructose corn syrup, apple juice and other ingredients. I zipped past the bullshit of “natural and artificial flavors” because I know that natural in food technology could mean anything. Listed after one of my other favorite ingredients, “potassium sorbate,” which gives me the shivers, I saw sodium hexametaphosphate. I had to write that one down because it was in all of them. My thought was, “Parents are actually letting their kids drink this because it says it has juice in it and therefore, it must be good.” I wanted to gag!
Sodium hexametaphosphate is most commonly used in cosmetics as a chemical preservative. It’s also used in the food industry in poultry processing, seafood and pet food applications. According to various food manufacturing websites, SHMP, is an emulsifier, a sequestering agent, and texturizer. Prevents scale formation and corrosion. Acts to stabilize product and prevent changes in appearance and texture. May cause respiratory tract irritation. Symptoms may include coughing and shortness of breath. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to sodium hexametaphosphate that may produce mild chest pain. Also, it’s been linked to pancreatic cancer in continual doses in mice.
Glancing at the MSDS (material safety data sheet) page on the Tri-Chem site, I noticed a number of things. It’s used as a water softener. The name “Calgon” appears at the top of the MSDS, which caught my attention, too.
Ingestion of SMHP (sodium hexametaphosphate) can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and gastrointestinal irritation. Would I want my kids drinking something that could cause this? Nope!
Then I saw an unfamiliar word that I had to look up the meaning for: sequestrant. Knowing “sequester” means separate, in food processing it keeps ingredients from separating. SMHP is not only used food but more often in cleaning products (and toothpaste!) to heighten the effects of detergent, as well as in the making of glass and ceramic products. Sounds yummy to me!
Blue food? Yes — Blueberries, dark purple-blue grapes or whatever occurs naturally in food. Blue artificially flavored drinks, candy, ice pops, energy drinks – I don’t CARE if it’s Gatorade – fake blue is not good for you; it can’t be! It’s nothing but downright scary!