GAO office says FDA’s hands shouldn’t be tied to chemicals in food packages

GAO office says FDA’s hands shouldn’t be tied to chemicals in food packages

The Government Accountability Office says the FDA should have the power to request and receive information from food companies about food packaging and food production surfaces in relation to chemical contamination.

In a report on so-called forever chemicals that don’t break down that was requested by two US representatives, the office says FDA oversight of indirect food additives is a must. Identifies how food processing and packaging can lead to food contamination and can pose health risks.

“The FDA reviews information about the safety of such substances before their first use. As new information becomes available that suggests a substance may pose a health risk, the FDA will occasionally re-evaluate the substance based on the new information. However, the FDA does not have specific authority to require companies to provide information the agency may need for such reviews, so a re-evaluation may not be possible,” according to the gal report.

“Us recommended that the FDA request this authorization from Congress.

“FDA conducts premarket reviews of substance safety largely by reviewing supporting evidence submissions from companies before substances enter the market.”

US Representatives Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, requested the GAO report.

“Let me be clear: These are forever chemicals that don’t break down and can have a detrimental impact on the health of Americans,” DeLauro said. “And over time, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s Total Diet Study (TDS), these chemicals can be found in a variety of food products. We need action to address this issue because the health of the American people must always come first.”

Pingree agreed with DeLauro, adding that chemicals pose a broader threat than just food.

“From drinking water and soil to prepackaged foods at the grocery store, ‘always chemical’ contamination is a growing public health concern for Mainers and people across the country,” Pingree said.

The representatives reiterated a key aspect of the report: The FDA does not have the specific authority to require companies to provide information the agency may need for such reviews, so reassessment can take time or, in many cases, not at all. be possible.

The GAO report is clear about the dangers of certain chemicals in food packaging and on food preparation surfaces.

“Thousands of food contact substances are available for use in food manufacturing, packaging and transportation. These substances are used, for example, in food wrappers and in the lining of metal food cans. Academics, consumers and other stakeholders have raised concerns that some of the substances may, alone or in combination with other substances, contribute to adverse health effects such as thyroid disease and hormone disruption ”, says the GAO report.

The GAO report makes two recommendations to the FDA:

  1. Ask Congress for specific legal authority to compel companies to provide the information necessary to reassess the safety of substances; Y
  2. Track the dates of the last reviews of all food contact substances to allow the FDA to easily identify substances that may warrant post-market review. The FDA neither agreed nor disagreed with the first recommendation and agreed with the second recommendation.

There are also two specific recommendations for the FDA commissioner in the GAO report:

  1. Request specific legal authority to compel companies to provide specific information they have on food contact substances already on the market. The FDA could do so when it reports to the House Appropriations Committee on options to systematically reevaluate the safety of food additives and obtain information on their use; Y
  2. Instruct the agency to track the dates of the last premarket and postmarket reviews for all food contact substances in a way that allows FDA to easily identify substances that may warrant postmarket review.

For the full 42-page report, Click here.

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