In an article published April 10, 2014 on the news provider PolicyMic, journalist Tom McKay calls the possibility to circumvent the review of food additives by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by using the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status “a glaring loophole”. PolicyMic aims to give a voice to the younger generation, providing counter narratives to large media conglomerates. In the article, McKay details the recent report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which highlighted that the GRAS status allowed manufacturers to circumvent FDA review under the U.S. food additive regulation. In its report, the NRDC points out that the number of additives has risen from around 800 in the 1950’s to more than 10 000 today. McKay expresses concerns that this may pose a public health risk, in particular as GRAS substances have evolved from being simple additions like olive pulp extract to complex synthetic chemicals. According to the NRDC, there are likely about 1 000 secret GRAS determinations, of which it was able to identify only 275 chemicals. Some additives submitted for voluntary GRAS review with the FDA end up being withdrawn and used irrespectively, once the FDA asks tough questions regarding their safety. Further, it is impossible for consumers to avoid these substances, as there is no declaration on products indicating which substances have been reviewed by the FDA.
Tom McKay (April 10, 2014). “There’s a glaring FDA loophole that makes your food a lot less safe.” PolicyMic.