Did you know that the need for a longer shelf life has led to the usage of chemicals in the production of potato chips? One of this is also present in your toilet cleaner.
Potato chips were made in 1853 when George Crum, a chef, became frustrated with a customer who had sent back fried potatoes for being too thick. In his anger, and also to spite the patron, Crum sliced the potatoes paper thin, fried them and in doing so, unintentionally became the creator of the potato chip we know today.
But, a lot of has changed since those humble beginnings. Technological advancement and growing demand have led among other things to the introduction of chemicals in the production of potato chips.
What is the Chemical Present in Potato Chips and also in Toilet Cleaner?
One of the chemical is sodium bisulfite, which is used to prevent bacterial growth on vegetables and fruits, wine and some seafood.
It is also present in toilet cleaner. Yes, that is correct, toilet cleaner!
Sodium bisulfite is used in most dishwasher products and toilet cleaning agents, but in a larger quantity than those found in potato chips.
Sodium bisulfite works by releasing the sulphur dioxide gas, which inhibits bacterial growth while also preventing discoloration caused by chemical reactions. While its use in potato chips is to bleach out discolouration and increase their shelf-life.
When a chemical such as sodium bisulfite is used in pharmaceutical preparations, as a food additive, or personal hygiene products, it needs to be carefully monitored.
Is Sodium Bisulfite Harmful?
In potato chips, where it is present in microscopic quantities, sodium bisulfite is safe.
But, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stresses that sodium bisulfite must still be “used in accordance with good manufacturing practice“.
It can however not be used on (uncooked) fresh produce or be used in any foods that have vitamin B1, as the sodium contained in the chemical destroys it.
Though the FDA considers or recognizes sodium bisulfite as a safe substance, there have been some cases where it has caused strong adverse reactions in some people.
But, despite the potential risks involved, a satisfactory substitute has not yet been found.
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