In the latest move within the ongoing litigation between the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over the use of perchlorate in food packaging, Chemical Watch reported that the FDA has asked the court to rule in its favor. In its motion for summary judgment recently submitted to the US district court in New York, the FDA argued that it has “determined through rigorous scientific analysis that perchlorate will not enter the food supply through packaging for dry, non-fatty foods at levels that could adversely affect public health.” NGOs disagree and argue the FDA has ignored and underestimated important data showing an increase in exposures. The agency is asking for the judge to rule in its favor and end a lawsuit filed against it by a group of six NGOs in October 2019 (FPF reported).

Perchlorate has been authorized in the US for use as an antistatic agent in packaging for dry food. It is suspected to harm brain development (FPF reported) and therefore be of particular concern for childhood exposure (FPF reported). A total diet study published by the FDA in 2016 found higher perchlorate levels in foods sampled in 2008-2012 compared to 2003-2006, suggesting a correlation with the increased use of perchlorate in food packaging following its authorization by the agency in 2005 (FPF reported). The original NGO petition to the FDA to end the authorization of the substance in food packaging was filed in 2015 (FPF reported), followed by a 2016 lawsuit filed by NGOs against the agency “over its failure to act” (FPF reported). After repeated delays (FPF reported), FDA finally “denied the petition in 2017” (FPF reported). Subsequently, the NGOs filed an objection (FPF reported), which the FDA also rejected in April 2019 (FPF reported).

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Chemical Watch (April 29, 2020). “US FDA defends authorisation for ‘limited use’ of perchlorate in food packaging.”