Health groups petition FDA to ban eight food flavors

Health groups petition FDA to ban eight food flavors
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Health groups are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban eight synthetic flavors in food that are known carcinogens.

The petition, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said the flavors, which have been used for over 40 years, are found in ice cream, candy, baked goods and beverages.

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The petition asks FDA to revoke its 1964 approval that allowed seven of the eight flavorings to be used in food and overturn the industry’s 1974 self-approval of the eighth synthetic flavor, which they assert can be used under a loophole in the law for chemicals that are “generally recognized as safe.”

Health groups who joined NRDC on the petition include the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Improving Kids’ Environment and the Center for Environmental Health, the Environmental Working Group and Dr. James Huff, the former associate director for chemical carcinogenesis at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences signed the petition.

Research by the National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Program found that each of the eight flavors causes cancer in humans and animals, NRDC said.

“Consumers are vulnerable, the government isn’t doing its job and the food industry is calling the shots,” Erik Olson, director of NRDC’s Health Program said in a news release. “The FDA should be doing much more to ensure our food is safe, and that should start with obeying the law by banning these synthetic flavorings known to cause cancer in animals, rather than just continuing to let the food industry have its way.”

The flavors include Benzophenone, are also known as diphenylketone;Ethyl acrylate; Eugenyl methyl ether, also known as 4-allylveratrole or methyl eugenol; Myrcene, also known as 7-methyl-3-methylene-1,6-octadiene; Pulegone, also known as p-menth-4(8)-en-3-one; Pyridine; Styrene; and Trans,trans-2,4-hexadienal.