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Ingredients in cheese slices – quick review

Cheese slices are promoted to us as a source of calcium and vitamin D. Low fat versions are available and the marketing message is clear about their place in our daily dairy intake.

Products like these are easy to overlook when label reading. We are so accustomed to them, so used to buying them, we barely give the ingredients a second thought. Manufactures rely on us being this loyal.

I look a long overdue, second look at the ingredients in cheese slices this week, paying particular attention to the E numbers (preservatives and additives) in the product. What started out quite positively, soon deteriorated. The cheese slices I reviewed contained mineral salts 339 and 341 (both get happy faces in the Chemical Maze) and food acids 270 and 331 (also happy faces).

But reading on, I found ‘natural colour 160b’ – also known as annatto and one of the food colours that is linked to irritability and hyperactivity in children, restlessness and sleep disturbances. The preservative 200 also makes an appearance. Also known as scorbic acid, it is petroleum derived and linked to allergies and asthma. It is one of the more common irritants identified when testing for food intolerances.

Three serves of dairy should not need to include three serves of health compromising additives.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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