Everything wrong with “generally recognized as safe” food additives in one smart traffic analogy

“generally recognized as safe” loophole
Video screen capture The Center for Public Integrity

There’s growing concern in the U.S. about the weird and unpronounceable additives that can be found in all kinds of food items, from cereal and bread to yogurt and salad dressing.

This isn’t just an irrational fear of chemicals, it has real concerns for people with health issues like allergies or digestive problems. This great video from The Center for Public Integrity spells it out, using a smart traffic analogy to illustrate the legal “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) loophole that allows hundreds of ingredients to end up in our food without oversight from the FDA.

Last year, the Natural Resources Defense Council identified 398 chemicals used as food additives that have not been reviewed by the FDA by analyzing the “GRAS Self-Determination Inventory Database.” The organization has also issued a list 12 food additives that are of most concern and they recommend avoiding.

A good rule of thumb is to take matters into your own hands and read the list of ingredients on the back of the package carefully. If there’s something that doesn’t sound like “food,” consider putting that item back on the shelf.

An even healthier strategy is sticking to the whole foods in the produce aisle or visiting a farmers market, where you can talk to the people who produce our food yourself.

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