As we fight to label GMOs and put warnings on sugary drinks inquiries into food labeling laws become all the more pertinent. The fabulous Twilight Greenway looks into a recent study published by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) exposing the inefficiency (in terms of consumer protection) in the antiquated “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) law, which allows companies to determine the safety of their own ingredients (Michelle Simon points out just one of the many problems with this law here). It’s estimated that there are 1,000-10,000 ingredients like this!
In her article for Civil Eats, Ms. Greenaway writes;
Their initial findings prompted them to look further. In total, NRDC estimates that about 1,000 of the 10,000 additives used in food today have been added more or less on the down low by companies that don’t want to go through an official review process, don’t want their process known by competitors, or don’t want to face safety questions directly.”
All the more reason to shop at your local farmer’s market and steer away from processed food. Consult the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) flow chart above for a visual, and read the Washington Post article by investigative reporter Kimberlly Kindy for even more analysis.
Natural Resources Defense Council identified 56 companies that were marketing products using 275 chemicals that the company’s hired experts decided met federal safety standards, known as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). However, the science behind those safety findings and the use of the chemicals was disclosed to the FDA in only six instances. The New York-based NRDC called its report “Generally Recognized as Secret” and said the lack of transparency with the GRAS process is a public health threat.”
Are secret, dangerous ingredients in your food? via Washington Post