FDA Accepting Comments on Petition to Ban Certain Food Additives
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FDA Accepting Comments on Petition to Ban Certain Food Additives

January 4, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) starting Monday will be accepting public comments on a petition to prohibit certain food additives that studies suggest cause cancer.

The petition, filed by several consumer advocates, asks the FDA to ban an established a zero tolerance policy for the synthetic chemicals benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine and styrene. The agency will consider the petition following a 60-day public comment period.

Sponsors of the petition include the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, Consumers Union, Improving Kids' Environment, the Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Working Group, Environmental Defense Fund, and James Huff.

Federal law prohibits food additives that are found to cause cancer in people or animals. The sponsors of the petition cite several studies from the National Toxicology Program, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, that conclude the seven additives in question cause cancer. They also include results from an observational epidemiology study in humans exposed to styrene and a number of long-term animal feeding studies conducted on each of the additives.

While the petition only focuses on the additives as a flavoring, the FDA says that any changes could affect how the chemicals are used in other food-related manufacturing processes. The agency, however, is not committing to changing those regulations right now.