Study: Thousands of Food Additives Go Untested for Safety Before Reaching Shelves

(Nutritional It seems the entire food safety system is based around Nietzsche’s dubious assumption of “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Maybe that’s decent advice for certain tests and trials of endurance, but it hardly applies to the cumulative effects of chronic exposure to toxins slowly consumed over time.

And yet, even a basic look into the crony capitalist world of the FDA, the USDA and the major manufactures of pesticides, crops, food products and other industrial ingredients makes clear that this understanding was not factored in – deliberately – into the food regulatory system.

For a brief qualification of that, there’s the creation of the 1958 Delaney Clause – which bans known carcinogens from being in food. Pretty straight forward, good idea, but it shook the foundation of the food establishment. As technology allowed detection of more known toxins and lower levels, the de minimus interpretation was introduced, exempting the application of this law from applying to most low level contamination even of known carcinogens – despite the fact that studies have shown many of these chemicals, metals and otherwise unholy constituents often can cause cancer or disease even at low levels.

So, we have obviously been wary of the many chemical food additives, and laboratory sounding names lurking in boxes and packages of foods throughout the grocery store, at every convenience store… and, of course, restaurants, too, where an ingredients label is not typically offered, and educated guessing or on-the-spot interrogation of underpaid servers must suffice.

What is really in the food?

Who has tested it, and what did they test?

Is it really safe to eat?

Have any of the ingredients in my family’s diet been linked with cancer, disease or other ailments?

These important questions are not easy to answer. This study shows that – frustratingly – they may never been answered as long as the FDA continues business as usual.

Not only are there “ubiquitous” conflicts of interest between industry and government regulation, but many of the safety approvals for food ingredients used prior to 1958 were grandfathered in and with likely never be legally required for safety testing – long term, reproductive, or otherwise. Science Direct wrote:

How has the oversight of our food regulations gone so terribly wrong? The researchers have a few insights. First, many chemicals were grandfathered into the system in the 1950’s, and so they are in our food supply without information on their safety. Once a chemical is cleared for use in foods, the clearance is forever, so there are no requirements or incentives for a manufacturer to support additional testing. And, under the outdated U.S. Food Additives Amendment of 1958, the FDA doesn’t even have the authority to require testing if it has questions about a chemical.

According to the report, the FDA did no real testing in making decisions about chemical & food safety, instead: “In making such decisions, they were building a house of cards based on assumptions and unsupported extrapolations instead of direct scientific evidence.”

Titled “Data gaps in toxicity testing of chemicals allowed in food in the United States,” the study, conducted by The Pew Charitable Trusts scientists, found that startling conclusions that point to a complete farce of regulatory safety.

… A complete farce. There is no real food safety system.

Just let that sink in.

The study found that:

• In practice, almost 80% of chemical additives directly—intentionally—added to food lack the relevant information needed to estimate the amount that consumers can safely eat in FDA’s own database and 93% lack reproductive or developmental toxicity data, although FDA requires feeding toxicology data for these chemicals.

• Of the totality of FDA-regulated additives, both directly and indirectly allowed in food, almost two-thirds don’t have publicly available feeding data.

• In the absence of toxicology data on the majority of chemicals added to food, the scientific basis for determinations of safety to humans may be questioned.

Live Science, in summarizing the study, reported the astounding fact that only 21.6% of more than 4,000 intentionally added ingredients had actually been studied for safety in any meaningful way – with much left to be desired for even many of those that had been tested.

Moreover, the study, published in Reproductive Toxicology, found that more than 1,000 additives were present in the food supply without official knowledge or approval of the FDA or any other regulatory system.

Jennifer Sass wrote:

After extensive research into what manufacturers add to our food, the researchers report that about 1,000 additives are in the food supply without the FDA’s knowledge.

And, for those additives the FDA does actually know about, fewer than 38 percent of more than 8,000 FDA-regulated additives — including those manufacturers intentionally add directly to food and materials that may come into contact with and contaminate foods — have a published feeding study. (Feeding studies comprise the basic toxicology test — the first test a scientist would do to evaluate the safety of a chemical additive.) For direct additives, added intentionally to food, only 21.6 percent of the almost 4,000 additives have undergone the feeding studies necessary for scientists to estimate a safe level of exposure, and the FDA databases contain reproductive or developmental toxicity data for only 6.7 percent.


Also, industry can self-determine if its chemical food-additives are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), and therefore free from the usual regulatory requirements for food additives. If the industry makes a GRAS determination, it is not even required to notify FDA that it has put the new GRAS additive on the market. Allowing industry to determine the safety of the chemicals it creates is a textbook example of the fox guarding the chicken coop.


And we have all been trusting enough of this system to put all that stuff in our mouths?

And those of our loved ones?

Are we just the most ignorant people on the planet, or have we all just gone crazy? Is there ANYONE willing to bring sanity and transparency to this system… you know, since we all have to eat to live, but don’t want to get sick from eating…

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Aaron Dykes

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