Legislation has been introduced to improve food safety and FDA accountability

A bill introduced by the US Senate calls for stricter regulation of substances “generally recognized as safe” and the creation of a new Food and Drug Administration office to assess the safety of chemicals in the US food supply.

Senator Edward J. Markey, D-MA, The Safe and Toxin-Free Food Assurance ActAnd the Comprehensive legislation that will ensure that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fulfills its responsibility To promote the health and well-being of American families by directing the Food and Drug Administration to fortify substances generally recognized as safe (GRAS), which exempts companies from seeking pre-market approval for certain food additives.

Markey’s legislation would also direct the Secretary of HHS to establish an Office of Food Chemical Safety Reassessment within the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which would be responsible for reassessing whether existing substances such as bisphenols and PFAS are safe for American families to consume.

Additional co-sponsors of the Safe and Toxic-Free Food Assurance Act include Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-CN, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA.

“The only mystery families that you have to encounter while eating is what we eat for dinner, not what is for dinner. Americans deserve to know that the food on their kitchen table is safe for themselves and their families to eat,” Senator Markey said.

“The FDA often falls short in its responsibility to promote food safety, most recently highlighted by the infant formula crisis in which the FDA’s deputy commissioner for food policy has not learned about a whistleblower complaint for four months. It has been a long time since reviewing current food safety measures and closing the loophole that allows manufacturers to self-regulate new materials that could enter our food supply.”

“This legislation will strengthen important food safety measures, and protect Americans and their families from harmful chemicals and substances,” Senator Blumenthal said. “I am proud to join Senator Markey on this bill to ensure healthy, toxin-free food for all families.”

“Americans deserve to know what they’re eating, and we know we can’t rely on big companies to put people and safety over profits,” Senator Warren said. “This bill is a step forward to help the Food and Drug Administration ensure the safety of the food that families eat.”

A copy of the legislation can be found here. A one-page summary of the legislation can be found over here.

Specifically, the Law to Ensure Safe and Toxic-Free Foods Directing the Food and Drug Administration to revise the Rule for Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) to include provisions:

  • Prohibit manufacturers from classifying substances as safe without providing appropriate notice and supporting information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Requirement that safety information be publicly available on the FDA website and subject to a public review period of 90 days.
  • Prevent carcinogens from obtaining the GRAS classification.
  • Substances showing evidence of reproductive or developmental toxicity are prohibited from receiving the GRAS classification.
  • Prohibit persons with conflicts of interest from serving as experts in reviewing and evaluating scientific data in connection with GRAS appointments.

The Safe and Toxic-Free Foods Assurance Act of 2022 has been approved by the Environmental Working Group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Environmental Defense Fund, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, and Earth Justice.

“For too long, companies have taken advantage of the GRAS Loophole to secretly introduce new chemicals into our foods without ever notifying the FDA,” said Peter Lowry, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “The Safe and Toxic-Free Food Assurance Act of 2022 helps fill the GRAS loophole and keep dangerous chemicals out of our foods.”

Melanie Beinisch said: “It’s incredible that food companies, not the Food and Drug Administration, decide whether 99 percent of new chemicals used in food are safe, and it’s been decades since the FDA evaluated the safety of many substances. The chemicals used in the foods we eat every day. , legislative attorney, Environmental Working Group. “The reforms proposed in the Safe and Toxic-Free Food Assurance Act of 2022 are urgently needed to reform the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of food chemicals and keep consumers safe.”

“Earthjustice is proud to uphold the Toxic-Free Food Assurance Act 2022, which will finally fix a system that has allowed thousands of chemicals into our food that haven’t been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration. “For decades, the FDA has allowed companies to make safety decisions alone and in secret. This must stop. Crucially, this bill would also require the agency to use the best science available to review the safety of harmful food chemicals already in commerce. Consumers expect It is rightfully the Food and Drug Administration to ensure the safety of the food they eat. Earthjustice is grateful for Senator Markey’s leadership on this urgent issue for helping turn this expectation into reality.”

“The Environmental Defense Fund commends Senator Markey for introducing the Safe and Toxin-Free Food Assurance Act of 2022,” said Tom Neltner, Senior Director of Safer Chemicals at the Environmental Defense Fund. “This law is taking the necessary steps To correct the failures of the Food and Drug Administration to protect the public from chemicals added to or contaminate food and to rebuild consumer confidence in food safety.”

“The chemicals linked to cancer and other health harms don’t belong anywhere near the food we eat – which is why we support the Safe and Toxic-Free Food Assurance Act of 2022. It is unacceptable for the food and chemical industries to continue to use secretive toxic chemicals,” said Lisette van Vliet. , Senior Policy Director at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners In Our Food & Food Packaging.

Senator Markey has long been an advocate for food safety and FDA accountability. In 2016, Senator Markey sent the FDA a message Recommend that the agency take steps to strengthen the GRAS base and update the guidance to mitigate conflicts of interest for outside experts evaluating GRAS materials.

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