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Cameron Faustman, Daniel Aaron, Nicole Negowetti & Emily Broad Leib, Ten Years Post-GAO Assessment, FDA Remains Uninformed of Potentially Harmful GRAS Substances in Foods, 61 Critical Reviews in Food Sci. & Nutrition 1260 (2020).

Abstract: It has been approximately 10 years since the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published its report to Congress entitled, FDA Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Food Ingredients Determined to be Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), which strongly criticized FDA noting that its “oversight process does not help ensure the safety of all new GRAS determinations.” Congress requested GAO to undertake this audit as a result of concerns that GRAS substances added to foods did not require FDA approval. Since 2010, FDA has addressed only a few of the criticisms regarding its process for establishing a food substance as GRAS. However, several of the most important GAO recommendations remain unaddressed, and most critically, FDA has chosen to remain uninformed about food substances self-determined as GRAS by manufacturers. In its 2016 final rule Substances Generally Recognized as Safe, FDA did not take the opportunity to include a provision for creation of a master list of all GRAS chemicals used in food, nor did the FDA request the authority to do so from Congress. FDA cannot fulfill its statutory obligation for ensuring the chemical safety of the U.S. food supply if it does not know which substances, in which quantities, have been added to foods.