FDA Declines to Ban Chemical in Food Packaging

FDA Declines to Ban Chemical in Food Packaging

WASHINGTON (May 3, 2016) – The Food and Drug Administration has denied a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Environmental Working Group to ban perchlorate in dry food packaging.

The following is a statement by Erik Olson, director of the Health Program at NRDC:

“This chemical is all over our food supply.  FDA has all the evidence it needs that it’s a public health threat.  Perchlorate impairs hormone production critical to brain development, so it is especially harmful to fetuses, infants and young kids.  This decision ignores the science and the law.  It’s an affront to all Americans, who expect that when they buy food, it won’t harm them.  We’re looking at our legal options to challenge this bad decision.”

NRDC and Center for Food Safety, on behalf of these health and environmental organizations, sued the Food and Drug Administration in March of 2016 to force it to act on the petition, filed in December 2014.  The agency had missed a June 2015 deadline to respond to the petition.

Perchlorate impairs hormone production critical to brain development and poses a health threat, particularly to fetuses, infants and children.  FDA has approved it for certain specific uses, including as an anti-static agent in plastic packaging for dry foods such as beans, rice and flour.  A diet study by the FDA, from 2008 to 2012, detected startlingly high levels of perchlorate in rice cereal for babies.

For additional background:


·         FDA’s decision to deny petition to ban perchlorate is here.


·         A statement upon filing of a petition for mandamus to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is available here.


·         The mandamus petition is available here.


·         The petition submitted to FDA is available here.


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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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