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The media has reported some serious mistakes made by the FDA in the recent past, like approving a tea that contained cocaine to be sold in the U.S. and approving a new pain killer that their own advisory committee voted against. While these actions are very telling, I’m focusing here on what the media hasn’t been talking about. A glimpse into the last few decades of FDA oversight shows how little the FDA has done to improve the food system in this country, how they have allowed us to eat harmful food additives and fail to act (sometimes for years) after an ingredient has been found to be unsafe.
There are several products that have been deemed “FDA Approved” or “Generally Recognized As Safe” which were yanked from market years after they were shown to be downright dangerous. What’s really scary about this is that history shows that something very serious needs to happen – like deaths – before the FDA takes action. Does someone really need to die before an ingredient is banned? In the eyes of the FDA, that may be the case. I thought I’d put together a few examples for you of ingredients that have been allowed into our food supply, despite ample research showing that they’re harmful. The fact that these are (or have been) allowed in our food is outrageous, as there are safer ingredients and practices that could be used by the industry.
1. Sulfites on Fresh Vegetables
REGULATORY STATUS: Approved in 1982 / Banned in 1986
The FDA approved sulfite preservatives on fresh produce in 1982, despite evidence that sulfites could trigger asthma attacks. Soon after, many people got sick and some even died after eating salads laced with sulfites in restaurants. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) claimed to have documented over a dozen deaths, and petitioned the FDA to ban its use – yet the FDA failed to act for 4 long years. The FDA finally banned sulfites on fresh produce in 1986 and subsequently limited it in other foods.
To see the remaining 4 FDA approved dangerous foods that are still found in your home, please visit the original post.