The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other organizations have filed a regulatory comment challenging the approval process for substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in food products, arguing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has weakened the GRAS standards to the point that they violate the Food Additives Amendment of 1958.
According to the comment, “[T]he American public would likely find it both disturbing and surprising that thousands of chemicals added to food today are not approved or even reviewed by FDA. Instead, of the roughly 10,000 additives currently used in food, more than 3,000 have never been substantively reviewed by FDA. For an estimated 1,000 of these substances, safety decisions were made by the food industry without any notice at all to FDA.” The comment further alleges that the agency has weakened food-safety laws with its 1997 proposal to change the GRAS approval process, which was never adopted or rejected. “The FDA’s job is to ensure the safety of our food supply; it should be doing much more to protect our health—not outsourcing decisions on the safety of thousands of chemicals in our food to industry,” said Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program. See CSPI News Release, April 15, 2015.