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So what's in our food (besides HVP and maybe salmonella)? Take a look ...

March 5, 2010 | 10:06 am

Produce Mysterious though it may seem, hydrolyzed vegetable protein may be one of the more straightforward food additives.

Feeling brave? Click here for the full "Everything Added to Food in the United Sates (EAFUS)" list -- seriously, that's the name -- from the Food and Drug Administration. You might get stopped by such things as "acetone," but keep going. It's illuminated reading (or skimming).

And note: Even the FDA points out that the EAFUS roster is not comprehensive.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, by the way, is a cousin of monosodium glutamate. Here's a nice (pre-recall) explainer from Science Friday.

As for acetone, NutritionData's list of additives describes it as an extraction solvent, solubilizer, solvent and vehicle. This list isn't as nearly comprehensive, but it comes with a helpful glossary. "A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives" elaborates: "Used as a flavoring additive in foods and a solvent for spices that is residual in foods. The FDA requires that it not be used in excess of the amount reasonably required to accomplish the intended effect ..."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest offers a list of food additives as well. Again, it isn't as comprehensive as the FDA's, but you get the organization's safety assessments -- if you're into that kind of thing.

Today's story: Salmonella found in food additive sparks recall

Here's the FDA page on the recall, complete with consumer information, a list of products recalled and ... you know the drill.

And to answer the question: "So what's in our food ...?" Many, many things.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: This is what food without additives looks like. Credit: Los Angeles Times