Two Scientists Voice Concerns Over Food Additive Bans


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Washington — Last week, IFT’s Food Technology magazine published an article titled What Food Additive Bans Overlook, examining the impact of California’s recent ban of four food additives — brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and Red Dye No. 3. Beginning on January 1, 2027, these ingredients will longer be allowed to be sold or produced in the state.

In the article, authors James R. Coughlin, PhD, CFS, and Craig Llewellyn, PhD, point out that this ban and other similar bills currently being considered in New York, Illinois, and Washington, reflect “a collective lack of awareness of the robust umbrella of U.S. regulations that ensure the safety and abundance of our food supply.”

The scientists, Coughlin, an independent consultant in food toxicology and global regulatory affairs in Southern California, and Llewellyn, a principal scientist with Exponent, point out: “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 (FDA).”

They note that the current trajectory of a state-by-state approach “undermines the FDA’s jurisdiction and sound scientific evaluations and decisions, jeopardizing the interstate commerce that ensures a diverse and safe food market.”

The pair conclude: “If states have questions or concerns on the safety of food ingredients, they should consult with federal experts and work together to bring science to the forefront of dialogue on the safety of food ingredients. The goal of all stakeholders involved in the U.S. food supply needs to be the safety of consumers and decisions made based on the weight of the scientific evidence.”