Most Americans are completely unaware of the additives put into their food because the food industry does not need to list the chemicals they use in the ingredients. Instead, the federal government allows these chemicals to be obscured by being listed as “artificial flavors” or “natural flavors.” It’s time to stop letting Big Food and their crony capitalist friends get away with hiding the contents of their products and require them to list the chemicals they use in our food.
Despite the vast number of chemicals used in food and labeled as artificial flavors, the government has done very little to ensure that they are safe. That’s because food companies can deem their own products to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) without a formal review by the FDA. The GRAS process has essentially turned into a loophole for food companies to declare all kinds of chemicals safe to add to our food with little oversight. The FDA seems fine with taking Big Food’s word for it. Of the thousands of other chemicals being added to our food, how many pose a risk to human health?
The solution is simple. Food companies should be required to list out all of the chemicals used to flavor a food. Because it can be difficult to distinguish the chemical names of natural and artificial flavors, food labels can simply list out natural flavors under that heading, and artificial flavors under their own heading. Consumers could then make their own informed decisions about what they are comfortable eating.
Write to the FDA and Congress, urging them to take action to force food companies to tell us what chemicals are listed under "artificial" and "natural" flavors.
We need transparency on artificial flavors
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]