Background

The Food and Drug Administration has filed a petition proposing to withdraw authorization of the following seven food additives as synthetic flavoring substances in light of assertions by several public interest groups that new data establish that these substances are carcinogenic and therefore not safe for use in food. Comments on this petition are due by March 4.

- benzophenone (also known as diphenyl ketone)

- ethyl acrylate

- eugenyl methyl ether (also known as 4-allylveratrole or methyl eugenol)

- myrcene (also known as 7-methyl-3-methylene-1,6-octadiene)

- pulegone (also known as p-menth-4(8)-en-3-one) - pyridine

- styrene

The petition also proposes to amend the food additive regulations to establish zero tolerances for these additives. The FDA notes that there is no statutory or regulatory provision for establishing a zero tolerance standard for flavoring food additives but that the use of substances in human foods may be prohibited by rulemaking because of a determination that they present a potential risk to the public health or have not been shown by adequate scientific data to be safe for use in human foods. The FDA states that to the extent that such a rulemaking satisfies the petitioners’ request for a zero tolerance it will consider whether such a rulemaking is necessary if this petition results in a regulation.

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