Frozen pizza is a favorite of children and adults alike – and for good reason. It’s quick and easy to make, with enough varieties to satisfy almost any dietary preferences or restraints.
Although almost everyone has had this popular food item in their freezer at one point, some brands might be serving up chemical ingredients that have the potential to cause health harms. Whether you’re a meat lover, veggie fan or just love classic pepperoni, always read the frozen pizza box to avoid potentially harmful ingredients and additives.
Frozen pizza is frequently made with food chemicals that may harm humans.
Titanium dioxide, a color additive that may cause damage to DNA, can be found in frozen pizzas such as Celeste Pizza, Original Cheese. Pizza might also contain problematic preservatives – TBHQ, for instance, may harm the immune system, and it can be found in products like Totino's Cheese Flavored Pizza Rolls. Products like Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks contain BHA, a preservative that’s been identified as a possible human carcinogen.
Potassium bromate is another possible human carcinogen, and it can be found in Imo's Pepperoni Pizza.
Fly Guys Pizza Pepperoni, among other products, contains Red 40, a synthetic food dye that can harm children’s development and may cause behavioral difficulties.
These chemical additives, and many others, get into the food we eat through legal loopholes that allow food and chemical companies, not the Food and Drug Administration, to decide they’re safe for human consumption.
Congress is considering legislation that aims to close these loopholes. The Food Chemical Reassessment Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), would help improve our food regulatory system. If enacted, the bill would create an Office of Food Safety Assessment within the FDA to confirm chemicals that previously entered the food supply chain through a legal loophole, or were reviewed by the FDA decades ago, are still safe to eat.
While we wait for this bill to clear Congress, consumers can reduce their exposure to these chemicals of concern by checking food labels and avoiding products that contain them. EWG’s Food Scores database can also help consumers avoid harmful ingredients.
Meat and alternative proteins
If you’re choosing a frozen pizza with pepperoni, sausage or other type of red meat, keep in mind that Western diets high in these types of processed protein are associated with increased risk of lung, colorectal, gastric and other digestive system cancers.
Not only can these dietary choices harm your health, they can also hurt the environment. Animal agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
If you’d like to decrease your meat consumption, mushrooms are a protein-heavy, pizza-friendly alternative. Or you can just stick to veggie options.
Some frozen pizzas contain excessive amounts of sodium. Several slices of some kinds of pizza could add up to almost half of your recommended daily sodium intake. In fact, pizza is one of the most common foods that adds the most salt to your diet. Health concerns associated with too much salt are increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.