NCA Responds To Recent Consumer Reports Article On Food Additives


Washington — In response to an April 8, 2024, Consumer Reports article on state legislative proposals to ban certain FDA-approved food additives, the NCA released the following statement.

“It’s time to stop pretending that magazine publishers and state legislators have the scientific expertise and qualifications to make these very important determinations. The FDA needs to flex its authority as the rightful national regulatory decision maker and leader in food safety. States usurping FDA’s authority does nothing but create a patchwork of inconsistent requirements that increase food costs, create confusion around food safety, and erode consumer confidence.”

The association also offered background on the topic, noting more states are walking away from food additives bans than are adopting them. Following California’s adoption of a food additive ban in the fall of 2023, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are among a handful of states currently considering copycat proposals. Indiana, Maryland, South Dakota, Washington and West Virginia have rejected similar bills, because the proposals lack scientific basis. Similarly, Kentucky legislators recently passed a resolution acknowledging that food safety decisions should be based in fact and driven by those with regulatory expertise.  

Further supporting its position, NCA pointed to the following experts who have spoken out on the topic.

James Coughlin, PhD, CFS and Craig Llewellyn, PhD: “Numerous reports have included reference to the potential banning of the food additives in other countries, insinuating that the U.S. lags in safeguarding consumers. These allegations, however, stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the science of toxicology, the linchpin of food additive safety, and the meticulous regulatory oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” March 21, 2024

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Reading or hearing about chemicals in food, when combined with words like ‘toxic,’ ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘cancer-causing’ may be scary, especially if you aren’t getting all the facts.” April 2, 2024

Health Canada: “Health Canada has reviewed the relevant scientific information on reported linkages between certain synthetic food colours and neurobehavioural effects in children and has found that the presented evidence is insufficient to demonstrate a causal relationship. Health Canada also found no conclusive scientific evidence that titanium dioxide is a concern for human health when used as a food additive.” February 16, 2024

Institute of Food Technologists Chief Science and Technology Officer Bryan Hitchcock: “Food additives not only help improve shelf life and reduce microbiological growth but help ensure a safe and affordable food supply while also reducing food loss and waste.” March 28, 2024

University of Rhode Island Professor of Nutrition Dr. Kathleen Melanson: “Consumers do not need to be paranoid, or panic stricken about these additives. An occasional treat of a food containing them should not pose a risk.” November 1, 2023