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How do you like your wood?

27/07/2011

These companies serve us wood in the form of cellulose: Pepsi, Kellogg, Weight Watchers International, General Mills, McDonald’s, Sara Lee, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Kraft Foods, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s Arby’s, Sonic, Dole Food, KFC, Nestle, and many more.

Cellulose is virgin wood pulp processed and manufactured for functionality in various forms:

  • E460(i)
    Microcrystalline cellulose is a bulking agent used to add bulk and to stabilize slimming foods, convenience foods, desserts. E460(ii) Powdered cellulose is used in Kraft’s Parmesan cheese to prevent caking inside the tube.
  • E461
    Methyl cellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures and chemically methylated. Thickener, emulsifier in baked food, diabetic food, soft and fizzy drinks, jelly, jam and many of the E410 applications (Locust Bean Gum is used as a thickening agent and gelling agent in food technology). Can cause flatulence, distension, intestinal obstruction.
  • E462
    Ethylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures. Commercially prepared from wood and chemically ethylated. Many different uses, mainly as thickening agent, but also as filler, dietary fibre, anti clumping agent and emulsifier. Few products, and no longer permitted as emulsifier in the EU. Acceptable Daily Intake: None determined. Side effects: Ethylcellulose is practically non soluble, but can be fermented in the large intestine. Large concentrations can cause intestinal problems, such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
  • E463
    Hydroxypropylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures. Commercially prepared from wood and chemically propylated. Many different uses, mainly as thickening agent, but also as filler, dietary fibre, anti clumping agent and emulsfier. Similar as cellulose, but better soluble in water. many different products. Banned in Australia. Hydroxypropylcellulose is quite soluble, and can be fermented in the large intestine. Large concentrations can cause intestinal problems, such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Avoid it.
  • E464
    Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures. Commercially prepared from wood and chemically modified. Many different uses, mainly as thickening agent, but also as filler, dietary fibre, anti clumping agent and emulsifier. Similar as cellulose, but better soluble in water. Found in many different products. Acceptable Daily Intake: None determined. Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose is quite soluble, and can be fermented in the large intestine. Large concentrations can cause intestinal problems, such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
  • E465
    Methylethylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, the main polysaccharide and constituent of wood and all plant structures. Commercially prepared from wood and chemically modified. Many different uses, mainly as thickening agent, but also as filler, dietary fibre, anti clumping agent and emulsifier. Similar as cellulose, but with some different characteristics. for imitation cream and imitation ice cream. No known adverse effects. Methylethylcellulose is not very soluble, and can be fermented in the large intestine. Large concentrations can cause intestinal problems, such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.

Cellulose is cheap to produce, and food producers may save 30 per cent in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder. Cellulose is common in foods labelled as reduced-fat or high-fibre: breads, pancakes, crackers, pizza crusts, muffins, scrambled eggs, mashed potato mixes, cheesecake.

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