Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why doesn’t the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) know what’s in our food?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it sure beats answering the question: “Why is that jelly from Kentucky clear and nasty tasting and why does it come in a tube like toothpaste?” Seriously? Do you not watch Family Guy? Did we not cover this already? Perhaps you should ask your parents why they keep jelly in the bathroom and not in the kitchen. It ain’t astronaut food, mmmkay?)
So, why doesn’t the FDA know what’s in our food? It no doubt has to do with some companies finding loopholes in the law. That and even if the FDA is hip to that they probably have a hard time keeping up with it all.
What do the experts have to say? According to our Fifth Estate colleague Erin Quinn, contributor to Yahoo News, it does, indeed, have to do with a loophole.
Quinn says there is a common (for other countries) food additive called Lupin, for example, that folks with peanut allergies cannot have. Yet according to her: “Lupin is just one of thousands of ingredients companies have added to foods with little to no oversight from the FDA.”
She confirms: “They’ve taken advantage of a loophole in a decades-old law that allows them to deem an additive to be ‘generally recognized as safe’ — or GRAS — without the agency’s blessing, or even its knowledge.”
Quinn continues: “The loophole is so big that companies can market additives, like lupin, that the FDA has found to pose dangers. Even ingredients the agency has agreed are GRAS are now drawing scrutiny from scientists and consumer groups who dispute their safety.”
Finally, there is yet another reason why the FDA doesn’t know what’s in our food. Quinn concludes: “Critics of the system say the biggest concern, however, is that companies regularly introduce new additives without ever informing the FDA. “
Why doesn’t the FDA know what’s in our food? Now you know.
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