When Gatorade fan Sarah Kavanagh learned that her favorite drink contains an emulsifier banned in other countries over health concerns, she was taken aback.
“I was shocked that they’d put their consumers at risk like that and that the FDA would allow something like that to be put in products,” said the Mississippi 15-year-old, who launched a petition in November asking Gatorade to remove the ingredient, called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO.
The petition, which has attracted more than 200,000 supporters on change.org, notes that the ingredient shares an element — bromine — with some flame retardants used in furniture and plastics. Some studies on BVO indicate it can build up in fatty tissues and cause reproductive and behavioral problems in rodents.
It’s illegal to use the chemical as a food additive in the European Union India, Nepal, Canada, Brazil and Japan. Other ingredients that are allowed in American food but not in other countries include certain artificial colors and additives to flour.
Why the difference? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would not provide a representative for an interview, but in past statements to the media and on its website the agency has presented a variety of reasons for allowing controversial chemicals in food, ranging from a lack of resources for research to assurances that the substances are safe in small doses.
The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill that would ban Americans from bringing safe, approved Canadian prescription drugs into the country.
H.R. 5651 — the Food and Drug Administration Reform Act of 2012 — was passed Wednesday by a vote of 387-5.
Among other things, it gives the FDA new authority to prevent drug shortages and speed reviews of medical devices. The bill also addresses the matter of drugs imported from abroad, including those deemed safe by Health Canada.
When the Senate debated the bill last week, former presidential candidate and senator from Arizona, John McCain, wanted an amendment that would allow individual Americans to bring in prescription drugs under certain conditions.
Amendment 2107, Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada, would have permitted the import of drugs that were: Purchased from a licensed pharmacist, from an approved pharmacy in Canada; purchased for personal use; issued by a doctor licensed to practice in the U.S.; and has the same specifications as a drug approved by the FDA.
His amendment was struck down 54-43.
OTTAWA—The federal government wants to allow the carcasses of already dead animals to be processed in slaughterhouses for human consumption, a move that is raising concerns about the safety of Canada’s food system.
The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.
But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.
“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.
“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.
“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”