"Who Determines Safety of New Food Ingredients?"

"Critics say manufacturers are too often making the call on their own products."

"Grocery shoppers examining colorful packages bearing long lists of hard-to-pronounce ingredients might take comfort in the belief that those substances were deemed safe by the government.

They might also believe that some federal agency must, at least, be notified when a new substance enters the U.S. food supply.

But that's not the case.

Over the past 15 years, the vast majority of new ingredients added to U.S. food never received a safety determination from the government. And since 1958, at least 1,000 legally entered the food supply without the knowledge of government officials, according to the Pew Health Group.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that since 1997, it has largely transferred the responsibilities for pre-market safety determinations on ingredients — including flavorings, preservatives, texturizers and binders — from its own scientists to food manufacturers."

Monica Eng reports for the Chicago Tribune August 25, 2012.

Source: Chicago Tribune, 08/27/2012