Issue Date: June 15, 2015
Food Flavorings Come Under Fire
A coalition of consumer and health advocacy groups is urging FDA to ban eight synthetic flavorings from cookies, ice cream, candy, and other foods and beverages, claiming the chemicals cause cancer in laboratory animals. The flavorings have been allowed in food for more than 40 years. They are benzophenone (also known as diphenyl ketone); ethyl acrylate; eugenyl methyl ether (also known as 4-allylveratrole or methyl eugenol); myrcene (also known as 7-methyl-3-methylene-1,6-octadiene); pulegone (also known as p-menth-4(8)-en-3-one); pyridine; styrene; and trans,trans-2,4-hexadienal. FDA and consumers have little information about which food products contain the chemicals and in what amounts, the groups say in a June 10 petition. By law, FDA is required to prohibit food additives known to cause cancer in lab animals. Seven of the flavorings were approved by FDA in 1964 before such animal studies were conducted. The other flavoring was self-approved by industry in 1974 as “generally recognized as safe.” The petitioners argue that FDA should immediately ban the flavorings to prevent their continued use.
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