Is benzophenone on your grocery list? Or how about pulegone?
I’m pretty sure they aren’t.
But even if you’re a careful shopper… even if you read every ingredient label on the foods you buy… you wouldn’t know about it anyway.
Because benzophenone and pulegone are part of a group of eight deadly additives that Big Food is allowed to pump into just about everything we eat. All without telling us a thing.
And while we may not know much about the Deadly 8, our government has known for years that they cause cancer.
Now a group of public health watchdogs has banded together to demand that the Deadly 8 be pulled off the market by the end of the summer.
And they’re claiming that the FDA didn’t just jeopardize our health by keeping these dangerous additives in our food.
It actually committed a crime.
Laying down the law
Last week I told you about how a 57-year-old loophole lets a shadowy trade group – known as the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) – approve food ingredients without any FDA oversight.
But that’s not the only loophole in FDA food regs that’s putting all of us in grave danger.
There’s also a provision called Title 21 that allows food companies to include incredibly toxic additives in everything we eat without ever listing them on the labels. They just use blanket terms like “artificial flavoring” instead.
And over the past several decades both FEMA and the FDA have used Title 21 to sneak deadly additives into our foods without any of us being the wiser. Eight of the worst offenders include benzophenone; ethyl acrylate; eugenyl methyl ether; myrcene; pulegone; pyridine; styrene; and trans,trans-2,4-hexadienal.
And every one of these Deadly 8 food additives has one thing in common. They’ve all been found by our government’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) to cause cancer in people or animals.
In fact, NTP research from nine years ago looked at the effects of benzophenone on mice. “Almost all of the male rats” receiving the highest concentrations died before the end of the study. They were especially prone to leukemia and kidney and liver cancers.
You’ll find similar stories for all of these Deadly 8 additives. And that’s why a group of public health groups, led by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Center for Food Safety, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others recently sent a petition demanding that the FDA finally ban these additives from our food supply for good.
In fact, these groups are claiming that by keeping the Deadly 8 on the market, the FDA has been violating federal law for decades.
You see, there’s a provision in federal food-additive law called the Delaney Clause. It’s been around for more than half a century and says that additives can’t be deemed safe – and must be yanked off the market – once they’re found to cause cancer in people or animals.
The NTP’s own research proves that the FDA has been ignoring the Delaney Clause and allowing Big Food to keep deadly, cancer-causing additives in our food supply.
“The FDA should be doing much more to ensure our food is safe,” said Erik Olson, director of the NRDC’s Health Program, and he believes that should start with “obeying the law.”
The NRDC and the other groups involved in the petition claim that the Delaney Clause requires that the FDA pull potentially carcinogenic additives out of the market within 90 days. They’re demanding that the agency institute a “zero tolerance” policy toward the Deadly 8 and ban them by the end of the summer.
But I’ve learned that cancer may not be the only thing we have to worry about when it comes to these additives. The safety sheet for ethyl acrylate warns that it could cause “burns of the mouth and throat” and that you should “avoid ingestion of even very small amounts.”
If it’s serious about following the law – and safeguarding our health – the FDA should act on these additives soon. But don’t count on it.
The only way to guarantee that you’re safe is to avoid eating any amount of “artificial flavorings” — small, medium or large.
“NRDC, others petition FDA to ban eight carcinogenic flavorings in food” June 10, 2015, NRDC, nrdc.org
“Material safety data sheet – ethyl acrylate” ayersintl.com