The latest cause for Pinellas Republican member of Congress Anna Paulina Luna is accusing the federal Food and Drug Administration of “hiding what’s in our food” through pandemic-era loosening of labelling requirements.
But the agency’s published comments on the requirements appear to dispute her contentions.
During the COVIP-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration allowed manufacturers to make minor changes in some food ingredients without changing their labels because of supply problems, as long as the substitutes were minor ingredients with no associated health concerns or nutritional effects.
The flexibility has been extended to Nov. 7.
But in a news release, Luna accused the agency of “using COVID as an excuse to hide what’s in our food!”
In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, she said the agency’s rules “do not make it clear” whether manufacturers can substitute some food dyes that have been linked to increased hyperactivity in children, or high-fructose corn syrup she said has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.
However, the agency’s guidelines say the “flexibility” covers food dyes that are not subject to certification by the agency — and all the dyes mentioned by Luna, including red dye No. 40 and yellow dyes No. 5 and No. 6 — are subject to certification.
There has been scientific debate about whether high-fructose corn syrup, which includes the same chemical constituents as table sugar, has worse health effects. Some scientists have contended that it does; a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 says it does not, and a recent Food and Drug Administration release said the agency is “not aware of any evidence” that it is worse than sugar or other sweeteners.
An agency spokesmen didn’t respond to requests for comment by deadline for this column.