FDA proposes ban—moves us in the right direction.
Plus: Recipes for the weekend the entire family will love.
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." – Socrates.
Friday. According to the latest Census Bureau data, the U.S. population is projected to shrink by 2100. This would only be the second decline in the country’s history (the other occurred in 1918 due to the Spanish flu and World War I). The culprits this time around? Declining birth rates and an aging population. Well, 2100 seems very far away. Let’s move on to something that is happening today. The FDA is actually taking action and potentially moving our food system in the right direction. Let’s dive in.
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FDA’s Latest Move
Remember when we talked about the FDA turning a new leaf under the leadership of Jim Jones? Well, it looks like they’re living up to their word. Following California’s recent ban on certain food additives, the FDA is proposing a ban on brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a substance previously used in popular drinks like Gatorade and Mountain Dew.
This decision marks a significant shift in FDA’s approach to food safety. For years, beverage giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have phased out BVO due to health concerns and consumer backlash. But it’s only now that the FDA, prompted by studies with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is deeming the use of BVO in food as unsafe.
The FDA’s move to ban BVO is a welcome change, although some argue it’s overdue. Concerns about BVO’s health impacts aren’t new; the FDA recognized potential issues as far back as the 1970s but hadn’t taken decisive action until now. This change in stance could signal a more proactive and protective approach from the agency, a welcome development given the growing awareness and concern over food additives’ impact on our health.
Interestingly, the FDA’s announcement also hinted at a review of Red Dye No. 3, a color additive banned in cosmetics for decades due to cancer risks. The review of this dye is noteworthy, as it aligns with the FDA’s newly stated priorities to reduce diet-related chronic diseases and focus more on food chemical safety, as new deputy commissioner Jim Jones highlighted in his first few weeks at the helm.
This proactive stance by the FDA aligns with its recent commitment to address diet-related health issues and foodborne illnesses—precisely what we wrote about a few weeks ago when Jim Jones first took over at the FDA. The agency’s willingness to reconsider long-standing approvals, like BVO and potentially Red Dye No. 3, suggests a newfound responsiveness to public health concerns and scientific evidence.
The FDA’s recent actions, including opening lines of communication with the press and working closely with other agencies and lawmakers, are rebuilding public trust. By taking these steps, Jones is demonstrating his commitment to improving the FDA’s work and focusing on tangible results rather than merely engaging in bureaucratic nothing sandwiches—a government agency specialty.
As the FDA continues to review and update its regulations, we can expect more such decisions aimed at safeguarding public health. While it’s too early to make a final judgment, these early steps under Jones’ leadership are encouraging. They suggest a shift towards a more vigilant and science-driven FDA that’s finally willing to take the necessary steps to move our food system in the right direction.
The key takeaway? The FDA seems to be on a path towards more significant and effective regulation of food additives, potentially leading to a healthier food environment. This move could have a ripple effect on the food industry, prompting manufacturers to reconsider the ingredients they use. It’s a promising development and one that we’ll be keeping a close eye on in the coming months and years.
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