In an article published October 21, 2013 in the newspaper Huffington Post, Annette Maggi, President of the nutrition marketing and communications firm Annette Maggi & Associates reviews the discussion around the regulatory revision of the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) process. Maggi argues that in its current set-up the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not able to be study coordinator, scientific reviewer as well as decision-maker of food additives at the same time. She suggests the establishment of a GRAS department within the FDA, which would charge industries requiring new food additives to be reviewed and approved as GRAS. However, she argues, that alleged conflicts of interest arising from industry commissioned GRAS assessments are not as problematic as the limited number of experts able to review relevant science. As such, she claims, FDA would have to draw from the same pool of experts as industry is currently doing. Further, Maggi illustrates that the marketing of unsafe ingredients may damage an entire brand and that therefore companies take great risks in determining the GRAS status of ingredients. Nevertheless, she also stresses that it is necessary to reassess GRAS status whenever new uses of food additives arise. Maggi does not address how regulatory agencies will be informed of such new uses. She concludes that considering the current macro problems in the economy and health care, including obesity and heart disease, overhauling the GRAS process might not be of sufficient priority.
Annie Maggie (October 21, 2013). “Overhauling the GRAS Process: What Are Realistic Goals?” Huffington Post.