As of October 5th, The Food and Drug Administration has amended its food additive regulations to no longer allow for the use of seven synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers. One of the two petitions had been presented to them by Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Improving Kids’ Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Mr. James Huff. This study showed that 6 synthetic substances caused cancer in laboratory animals at high doses. The seventh synthetic flavor is being delisted as it is no longer in use within the industry.
These substances are synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone and pyridine. The Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA is unable to approve any food additive that has been found to induce cancer in humans or animals regardless of the dose. It is for this reason that these substances are no longer allowed. Despite their compliance with the Delaney Clause, the FDA states that their scientific analysis has determined that under the conditions of their intended use, they do not pose a risk to public health. Any of these synthetic flavoring options are used in extremely small amounts resulting in low levels of exposure and risk.
Upon receiving a separate petition from the Styrene Information and Research Center, the FDA adjusted its food additive regulations to not allow for the use of styrene as a synthetic flavoring substance and adjuvant as it is no longer used in the industry. For the remaining six synthetic flavoring substances, the FDA will allow 2 years from the publication of this rule in the Federal Register for companies to comply. This includes identifying suitable replacement ingredients and reformulating their food products.