Spice Safety Spotlight

FDA issues Q&A on spice safety. In October 2013, FDA released a draft risk profile on the public health risks associated with spices.  The risk profile identified the presence of pathogens, such as Salmonella, and filth in spices as systemic challenges and determined that the problem relates in part to poor or inconsistent use of … Continue Reading

Roundup Roundup

FDA reportedly to begin testing for glyphosate residues in foods. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup and is reported to be the most-used agricultural chemical in the world.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has labeled this herbicide as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) disputes that conclusion.  … Continue Reading

Color Wars

CSPI releases report criticizing use of artificial colors in food. In recent years, both FDA and the food industry have faced criticism from consumer safety groups and the media related to the use of artificial colors in food, particularly where some ingredients are not approved or have been discontinued in other countries due to alleged … Continue Reading

Yogurt Fight Gets Messy

Chobani’s latest ad campaign targets ingredients in Dannon and Yoplait products Yoplait and Dannon have accused competitor Chobani of using false and misleading statements about their products in Chobani’s latest ad campaign.  In newspaper, television, and social media advertisements that began airing January 6, 2016, Chobani states that unlike its Simply 100 yogurt, Yoplait Greek … Continue Reading

Caffeine Nation

NY Senator urges FDA to investigate the safety of caffeinated peanut butter.  There is ongoing debate and concern about the safety of caffeine consumption, particularly as related to certain food products produced to deliver high doses of caffeine in small servings.  In recent months, FDA issued a series of Warning Letters to distributors of powdered … Continue Reading

PHO Petition Pending

FDA reviewing food additive petition to cover limited uses of PHOs. As previously covered on this blog, FDA announced that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under any conditions of use in food.  Following the Agency’s action, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) submitted … Continue Reading

Assault on Salt

Consumer advocacy group sues FDA to compel Agency action on sodium. Sodium reduction has been a hot topic for many years, with average dietary intakes remaining higher than the recommended value of 2,300 mg/day (or 1,500 mg/day for certain at-risk groups).  The food industry has embarked on voluntary efforts to reduce sodium levels in processed … Continue Reading

Food Fraud

Food fraud abounds in the global marketplace. The concept of “food fraud” or “economic adulteration” refers to the whole or partial replacement of genuine foods and food ingredients with cheaper substances without informing the customer or consumer of the substitution.  Fraud cases may relate to specific qualities or the origin of a product (e.g., selling a cut as … Continue Reading

PHOs: Pause for Primary Jurisdiction

California federal judge finds plausible state law cause of action, but stays trans fat lawsuit pending FDA’s consideration of PHO petition. (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, class action lawsuits have been filed in the wake of FDA’s determination (tentative in 2013, final as of June 2015) that there is no … Continue Reading

PHO Petition Progress

GMA submits food additive petition to FDA to seek approval of low-level PHO uses. As previously covered on this blog, FDA recently announced that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under any conditions of use in food.  Going forward, PHOs will be … Continue Reading

PHO Protections

House Appropriations Committee approves bill amendment aimed at protecting food industry from PHO-related litigation until 2018. As recently covered on this blog, FDA issued a final determination stating that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under any conditions of use in food. … Continue Reading

Carrageenan Cheer

JECFA concludes use of carrageenan in infant formula “not of concern.” Carrageenan is a seaweed-derived ingredient used widely in the food industry to perform gelling, thickening, and stabilizing functions.  Although many long-term studies support the safety of carrageenan consumption, concerns have been raised in recent years regarding its potential to cause gastrointestinal inflammation. At its June 2015 … Continue Reading

Seralini: Round Two

New Seralini study questions safety of GM foods. In 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini gained notoriety for publishing research that linked the consumption of genetically modified (GM) crops to long-term toxicity and cancer in rodents.  The study initially received significant media attention, but scientific experts roundly criticized the data and their quality.  Ultimately, the publishing journal withdrew the … Continue Reading


FDA announces final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils are not GRAS. In November 2013, FDA announced its tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) were not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) based on the link between trans fats and health risks, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), as identified by scientific evidence and expert scientific panels, such as … Continue Reading

Prohibition Petition

Consumer groups ask FDA to ban 8 synthetic flavors. Over the years, various consumer groups have urged legislators and regulators to take specific actions that they allege are necessary to strengthen the safety of the U.S. food safety supply.  To highlight one prominent example in recent years, consumer groups have mounted and maintained a steady attack on … Continue Reading

Oh, PHOoey

Two major food manufacturers face class action lawsuits for using artificial trans fats in processed foods. (subscription to Law360 required) Artificial trans fats are substances created by the addition of hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  The primary source of dietary trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils” or … Continue Reading

Elimination Challenge

Chipotle announces achievement of its “non-GM” goal and now seeks to eliminate additives. Genetically modified (GM) foods and food additives have been the subject of significant media attention in recent months, with topics ranging from newly-developed GM crops, to high-profile removals of specific additives by major food brands, to Vermont’s GM labeling law, to debates about … Continue Reading

Beauty and the Bill

Bipartisan bill introduced to expand FDA’s authority over cosmetic products. Although FDA currently has authority to regulate cosmetic products marketed in the United States, regulatory action in this space has been dormant for decades.  Unlike with other product categories, FDA lacks mandatory recall authority for cosmetics and manufacturers are not required to disclose adverse health effects … Continue Reading

Axing Artificial

Kraft pledges to remove artificial colors and preservatives from flagship product. In recent years, the food industry has faced media criticism related to the use of artificial ingredients in products sold in the United States, particularly where the same ingredients are not approved or have been discontinued in other countries due to alleged safety concerns. … Continue Reading

Eye on the EU: Reports on Chemicals and Trans Fats

EFSA publishes an overview report on chemicals in food for 2015. As requested by the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published for the first time a report on chemicals found in food. This exercise will be repeated every year and will cover two topics:  (1) pesticide residues in food, and (2) veterinary drug … Continue Reading

Propylene Paraben Petition

Food safety advocates petition for removal of propyl paraben from food. The fact that foods may be marketed in the U.S. on the basis of general recognition of safety, or “GRAS” status, has come under heavy attack by food safety advocates and consumer groups in recent years.  In particular, some groups object to the fact … Continue Reading

Share and Share Alike

FDA and EPA to share data on pesticides and toxic substances. FDA and EPA share regulatory authority over substances that are used in food (including animal food and feed), animal drugs, and cosmetics.  For example, the manufacturer of an antimicrobial food wash must demonstrate to FDA that the use of this substance is safe and … Continue Reading

Pet Problems

Pet food class action lawsuit filed against major manufacturer. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Nestlé Purina PetCare Company alleging that ingredients in the company’s Beneful product line pose the risk of adverse health effects or death to pets. Among other issues, the lawsuit calls into question the permissible use of propylene glycol, … Continue Reading

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