Rubber Stamp of Approval?

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There was a time not too long ago that I blindly roamed through the aisles of the grocery store, putting things that I had been buying for years in my cart and not thinking twice about them. While I knew some of the things I bought might not improve my health or that of my family, I also believed that the Food and Drug Administration kept a close enough eye on the food industry that I wasn’t buying anything that would be harmful to our health. Since the FDA is charged with such an important job that directly impacts the health and well-being of my family, I thought it would be good to know more about what they do. A quick visit to the FDA’s website informed me that their “Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) works to assure that the food supply is safe, sanitary, wholesome, and honestly labeled”.   That sounds pretty good and should inspire great confidence in the consumers who buy food at the grocery store every day.  Unfortunately, the more I read about how the FDA oversees the safety of the food I’ve been buying, the more I can’t help but think the FDA and I have very different definitions of the word “safe”.

One of the first things I found is that the FDA does no testing on genetically engineered foods. Companies who develop genetically modified foods take their research on the safety of the foods to the FDA. The FDA accepts what the company tells them and deems the food to be safe for human consumption with no further testing. Not only does the FDA not test genetically modified foods, they also do not support the labeling of such foods.

Another interesting piece of information I came across has to do with the use of food additives that are “GRAS” or “generally recognized as safe”. This designation allows food manufacturers to include additives in food that have not been tested by the FDA. Manufacturers can submit a summary of research done by their own experts to the FDA showing a particular food additive is safe and, based on that summary, the FDA can grant GRAS status to the additive. As the agency’s own website explains it: “Companies that want to add new additives to food bear the responsibility of providing FDA with information demonstrating that the additives are safe. FDA experts review the results of appropriate tests done by companies to ensure that the additive is safe for its intended use.” Even better, companies can make their own determination that such additives are safe and use them without ever notifying the FDA.

The bottom line is this – just because a food is on the shelf in your local grocery store doesn’t necessarily mean it is something you and your family want to eat. There are many foods on the market which contain ingredients that may cause health problems for you and your loved ones. Educate yourself. Know what is in the food you’re eating and choose to eat food that doesn’t contain long lists of things you can’t pronounce. A quick and easy way to find good food is to use the search feature at There is a whole world of food out there that doesn’t contain potentially harmful ingredients, let us help you find it!


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