Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS is a designation given by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to food additives that are considered safe for consumption based on their long history of use or on scientific evidence. While this may sound like a reassuring system, there are many reasons to be skeptical of GRAS chemicals and their safety.
You must be thinking if U.S. FDA has approved them that means they have undergone a rigorous testing process or safety studies to determine their safety and efficacy. That’s where you’re mistaken. In this blog post, we will discuss what are GRAS chemicals, and how and why they are not good for you.
What are GRAS chemicals?
Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS is a designation given by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to food additives that are considered safe for consumption based on their long history of use or on scientific evidence.
- Potassium bromate
- Titanium dioxide
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
The use of GRAS chemicals has allowed for the production of a wider variety of safe and affordable food products. They are used to enhance flavor, color, and texture, as well as to extend shelf life. Without the use of GRAS chemicals, many of the foods that we enjoy today would not be possible.
One of the key benefits of GRAS chemicals is their ability to help prevent foodborne illnesses. By inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, GRAS chemicals can help keep our food supply safe and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Additionally, they can help preserve the nutritional value of food by preventing spoilage and degradation.
First and foremost, the GRAS system is based on outdated and flawed science. Many of the chemicals that are designated as GRAS were grandfathered in from the early days of food regulation when safety testing was not as rigorous as it is today. In other cases, chemicals are designated as GRAS based on industry-funded studies that may not be fully transparent or independent.
Furthermore, the GRAS system does not require companies to disclose the specific chemicals or additives that they use in their products, making it difficult for consumers to make informed decisions about what they are eating. This lack of transparency also makes it difficult for researchers to study the potential health effects of these chemicals, as they may not have access to the necessary information.
Another issue with the GRAS system is that it allows companies to self-certify the safety of their products, without independent oversight or review. This means that companies can simply declare their chemicals as safe, without having to go through the rigorous safety testing required for FDA approval.
Finally, even chemicals that are designated as GRAS can have unintended health consequences. For example, some GRAS chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption, which can lead to developmental and reproductive problems. Others have been linked to cancer, liver damage, and other serious health issues.
In conclusion, while the GRAS system may seem like a reassuring way to ensure the safety of food additives, it is based on outdated science, lacks transparency, and allows companies to self-affirm the safety of their products. As consumers, we should be skeptical of GRAS chemicals and demand more rigorous safety testing and transparency from the food industry.