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Food Additives: Health Consequences of Regulatory Oversight Failure 

Food Additives: Health Consequences of Regulatory Oversight Failure
Chapter:
Food Additives: Health Consequences of Regulatory Oversight Failure
Author(s):

Maricel V. Maffini

and Sarah Vogel

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190490911.003.0011
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date: 24 November 2017

The American diet is dramatically different today than in 1958, when Congress passed the Food Additives Amendment. Innovations in processing, preserving, and packaging have made food more affordable and convenient but added thousands of new chemicals to our diet. More than 10,000 additives are allowed in food, but most have not been tested, and their long-term, chronic effects have rarely been studied. The regulatory system has fallen short of being fully implemented and has been weakened by decades of limited resources. A legal loophole allows new chemicals in food without notice to or review by the Food and Drug Administration, and the outdated safety assessment process fails to adequately address public health concerns. The result is that consumers bear the burden of deciding what is safe to eat, with limited information to do so. Without robust review of the safety of chemicals in food, there is little insight into the extent to which they may be contributing to chronic diseases.

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