retail news in context, analysis with attitude

National Public Radio’s The Salt reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of Synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine as food additives, ruling in favor of a petition by the the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest that said that these compounds had been linked to cancer in animals.

If you’ve never heard of any of these chemicals, The Salt reports, it is because manufacturers never had to list them on ingredient labels. Instead, they could just call them “artificial flavors.”

The move is a reversal - albeit with lots of caveats - of a previously held FDA position. In its ruling, the FDA said, “The synthetic flavoring substances that are the subject of this petition are typically used in foods available in the U.S. marketplace in very small amounts and their use results in very low levels of exposures and low risk … While the FDA's recent exposure assessment of these substances does not indicate that they pose a risk to public health under the conditions of their intended use, the petitioners provided evidence that these substances caused cancer in animals who were exposed to much higher doses.”

The FDA is giving manufacturers 24 months to rid their products of the banned substances.
KC's View:
The thing that makes me nuts here is the fact that manufacturers have been able to mask the identity of these substances … it flies in the face of what ought to be a national policy requiring transparency from these companies.