In an article published on January 11, 2019, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) criticizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for not yet responding to an objection filed over 18 months ago. The challenge concerns the FDA’s decision to continue allowing the use of perchlorate in food packaging and food processing equipment. The decision was issued in May 2017 (FPF reported), and multiple groups quickly objected to it (FPF reported).

According to the FDA’s Code of Regulations, the agency should review all objections “as soon as possible”. However, 18 months after the objection was submitted, no response has yet been received, despite multiple inquiries (FPF reported). EDF writes that “…the agency has yet to complete a review of its May 2017 decision in light of our concerns and evaluate whether to either stand by it, or reverse it. We did not expect FDA would take three times longer to review a decision already made, especially since our objection is largely based on the agency’s own data.”

In its article, EDF discusses in detail “three central errors” that the FDA made when making its decision. “The agency largely relied on flawed science to assess dietary exposure.”

EDF calls on the FDA to “take steps to protect children’s health by stopping the unnecessary use of perchlorate in contact with food” and says that the FDA now has two choices: “either reverse its original decision to allow perchlorate, or give public health advocates the opportunity to argue their case.”

Perchlorate exposure has been linked with various health effects (FPF reported), and rising perchlorate levels in food were identified likely to be due to food packaging (FPF reported). The German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has previously called for perchlorate levels in foodstuffs to be held as low as reasonably achievable (FPF reported).

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EDF (January 11, 2019). “FDA is dragging its feet while children continue to be exposed to perchlorate in food.”