Consumer safety groups file extensive comments criticizing GRAS process.

  • In recent years, consumer groups have been attacking the “Generally Recognized as Safe” or “GRAS” exemption that permits the marketing of food substances in the United States without the need for FDA premarket approval.  GRAS opponents criticize FDA’s alleged lack of oversight and direct involvement in the marketing of GRAS substances.
  • On April 15, 2015, four groups — Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group, and Natural Resources Defense Council — filed an extensive set of comments with FDA criticizing the GRAS process and urging the Agency to rein in the food industry’s reliance on the GRAS exemption to market food substances in the United States.
  • The contents of the comments likely will come as no surprise to the food industry, as they reiterate the same rhetoric that consumer groups have been sharing with the media for years, e.g., the “Generally Recognized as Secret” catchphrase.  Because Congress expressly codified the GRAS exemption in the law, it is likely that the debate will continue over whether the right solution — if indeed any “solution” is warranted here — will come from Congress, FDA, or voluntary food industry action.