Often times, Academy-approved sources of information and continuing education will dismiss concerns about additives by referring to their Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status.
What they fail to mention, of course, are the politics behind that “credential”. In this invited commentary titled “Conflicts of Interest in the Regulation of Food Safety”, Dr. Marion Nestle delves into that very topic.
“At present, manufacturers of all food additives are permitted to decide on their own whether a substance is GRAS for human consumption, unless the additive affects food color. Companies also can choose whether to even notify the agency about a new additive. In practice, many manufacturers do inform the FDA. But, as Neltner et al explain, about a thousand additives are believed to be in the food supply without the FDA’s knowledge. For example, manufacturers added caffeine to alcoholic drinks without informing the FDA.”
No word from the Academy on this. It would certainly be a great step forward if, rather than defending every single chemical additive and artificial sweetener out there by referring to its GRAS status, the Academy educated RDs on the many holes that exist in achieving said status.