On June 4, 2021, Representative Rosa DeLauro announced the introduction of the Toxic Free Food Act to the United States House of Representatives. The Act would require the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review all chemicals added to food that are currently allowed on the market under the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) rule. Unless the manufacturer provides supporting details, including (i) the chemical’s cumulative effect, (ii) sufficiently protective use of safety factors, and (iii) a safety margin incorporating the impacts of exposure during crucial development periods and on susceptible groups, the chemical would be banned.
According to DeLauro, who introduced the bill, “In 2010, the Government Accountability Office determined that FDA’s performance was inadequate and did not ensure the safety of GRAS substances.” If the bill were to be passed into law, novel chemicals and substances considered carcinogenic would no longer be allowed under GRAS. All existing chemicals currently categorized as GRAS would be assessed over a 90-day public review period.
The GRAS rule has been under considerable scrutiny from NGOs and consumer safety organizations in recent years (FPF reported, also here and here). The Toxic Free Food Act is supported by groups including the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Consumer Reports.
Office of Rep. Rosa DeLauro (June 4, 2021). “DeLauro Introduces Legislation to Keep Dangerous Chemicals Out of Food Supply.”
Rosa DeLauro (June 4, 2021). “Toxic Free Food Act of 2021.” (pdf)
Jeneen Interlandi (August 17, 2016). ”GRAS: The Hidden Substances in Your Food.” Consumer Reports
US Government Accountability Office (March 5, 2010). “ FDA Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Food Ingredients Determined to Be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).”