Food Additives Regulation History

The historical use of additives in food processing dates back to ancient civilizations, with practices such as preserving meat with salt and using smoke as a preservative representing early forms of food additives. These additives have significantly influenced our dietary habits, taste preferences, and socio-cultural development over time.

The regulation of food additives began in the 19th century in Britain, prompted by the efforts of Frederick Accum and aimed at preventing food adulteration.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the regulation of food ingredients. The requirement for registering and testing additives before submission to the FDA was established in 1958, replacing the previous internal testing conducted by the FDA. The introduction of the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list recognized substances long deemed safe by scientists, exempting them from premarket clearance.

The GRAS list underwent revision in 1969 and, by 1980, included 415 substances from the 1958 project. Currently, manufacturers must demonstrate and provide evidence for their GRAS status, with approximately 100 new substances seeking GRAS certification annually.

The Delaney Act, an amendment within the 1958 law, prohibited additives associated with cancer. In 2003, the FDA introduced a "no residue" clause, allowing approval for animal feed additives or drugs inducing cancer only if no residue is found after slaughter. Critics argue the unenforceability of the Delaney Act, while the FDA maintains that the risk to consumers is minimal in cases of a slight carcinogen presence in meat or milk.
Food Additives Regulation History

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