The nation’s food supply has changed dramatically since 1958 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established its program to regulate chemicals added to food. Over that time, Americans have significantly increased their consumption of processed foods, which often contain large amounts of chemical additives, yet concerns have been raised by industry and consumers alike that the FDA’s regulatory science has not kept pace.
From 2010 to 2013, The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a comprehensive assessment of the federal food additives regulatory program. Relying on a transparent process that engaged stakeholders, Pew examined food additive issues in partnership with the food industry, the public interest community, and the federal government, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. We held five expert workshops and published six reports in peer-reviewed journals. This report summarizes our findings and provides recommendations to address the problems that we identified.
With more than 10,000 additives allowed in food, Pew’s research found that the FDA regulatory system is plagued with systemic problems, which prevent the agency from ensuring that their use is safe.
Findings and Recommendations of Pew's Assessment of the U.S. Food Additives Program
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The Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a comprehensive assessment of the federal food additives regulatory program. Pew examined food additive issues in partnership with the food industry, the public interest community, and the federal government. This report summarizes our findings and provides recommendations to address the problems that we identified. Read More
On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, the food additives Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop that discussed approaches to managing conflicts of interest. in a "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) determinations. Read More
The peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology published a paper from The Pew Charitable Trusts' food additives project examining the data used to make safety recommendations for chemicals added to food sold in the United States. The analysis of three major sources of toxicology information found significant gaps in the data for chemicals that are added to food and food packaging. Read More