WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group today applauds President Joe Biden for making the safety of chemicals in food and cosmetics a priority for the Food and Drug Administration in the administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2023.

The budget includes $ 8.4 billion for the FDA, an increase of $ 2.1 billion, or 34 percent, above the FY2022 budget request.

The budget includes $ 19.7 million in new funding for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to help the agency review food chemicals that may pose risks to human health.

The proposed budget also asks Congress to give the FDA new tools to protect children from toxic metals in baby food and to provide greater legislative authority to ensure the safety of cosmetics.

“EWG applauds the Biden administration for making chemical safety a priority for the FDA,” said EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber.

“None of us should have to worry about the safety of our food,” said Faber. “But for too long, the FDA has let food and chemical companies decide whether toxic ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS, or toxic metals like lead and arsenic, are safe to eat. No wonder consumers place food chemicals ahead of pathogens when asked about food safety concerns. “

Recent reports highlighted the FDA’s failure to address the use of PFAS in food packaging.

Recent studies have reinforced the need to modernize the FDA’s food chemical review system. For instance:

  • A House oversight committee report recently found high levels of toxic metals in baby food. In response, members of Congress have introduced the Baby Food Safety Act, which sets standards for lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.
  • A scientific panel created by the European Food Safety Authority recently found that titanium dioxide, a color additive used in Skittles and Starburst, “can no longer be considered as safe when used as a food additive.” The panel, citing concerns about titanium dioxide’s ability to damage DNA, based its conclusion on a review of hundreds of scientific studies.
  • Separately, a new peer-reviewed study by EWG found that TBHQa food preservative used to prolong the shelf life of Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats, Cheez-Its and almost 1,250 other popular processed foods, may harm the immune system.

The FDA does not currently review the safety of food additives when new science reveals potential health risks. By contrast, the Department of Agriculture reviews synthetic ingredients used in certified USDA Organic products every five years, and European Union regulators have been reviewing the safety of food chemicals for more than a decade.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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