On August 17, 2014 the Washington Post published an article about the current regulatory practice for food additives by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Journalist Kimberly Kindy gives an overview of the current regulatory practice and explains how the streamlining of the GRAS notification process in 1997 led to an abandoning of the formal approval route. She exemplarily describes how the food additives mycoprotein, carrageen and epigallocatechin-3-gallate obtained an approval by the FDA or were determined to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), although all of them are strongly suspected to harm human health in the way they are currently used. Toxic effects caused by these substances may be acute vomiting, allergic and anaphylactic reactions, and damage of the intestine, liver, kidney and brain.
Further problems mentioned in the article are the unknown, but often rising volume of particular food additives that is going into the food supply and the steadily increasing number of food additives, of which several hundred are introduced to the market without notifying the FDA at all. Substances used in accordance with direct food additive regulation are also considered safe for use in food contact materials in the U.S..
Washington Post (August 17, 2014). “Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes.”