Target: Michael M. Landa, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Demand that regulators ban the use of a harmful plastics chemical in food products
Would you eat a “yoga mat sandwich?” The idea probably doesn’t sound appealing, but without even realizing it you may already be doing just that. According to a report recently released by the Environmental Working Group, hundreds of popular food items contain a chemical also found in flip-flops, yoga mats, and other plastic based products.
The chemical has been used by industrial bakeries for more than 50 years, and has been linked to respiratory problems and other health concerns for workers who handle it on a daily basis. The European Union has never approved use of Azodicarbonamide (also known as ADA) in food products. But despite the fact that ADA has never been subjected to rigorous safety testing, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to allow its use.
Consumer pressure moved Subway, a major fast food sandwich chain, to commit to ending its use of ADA as a “dough conditioner.” Dozens of major brands have yet to follow suit, however, meaning ADA can still be found in products from Wendy’s, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Safeway, and Pillsbury, among others. Demand that the FDA ban all use of ADA in food products, without delay.
Dear Mr. Landa,
Recently, the Subway fast food chain committed to ending its use of Azodicarbonamide, a chemical used in plastics manufacturing. Intense consumer pressure left the company little alternative. But Americans are still exposed to ADA in hundreds of other food products. It is high time that the FDA step in and ban its use.
Factory workers regularly exposed to ADA have reported skin sensitization, respiratory ailments, and other health concerns. As reported by the news outlet Common Dreams, ADA “has not undergone extensive testing–particularly for human ingestion in food products.” This is a cause for concern for me, as I know it is for others seeking to protect their families from exposure to harmful and unnecessary chemicals.
I understand that companies want to ensure their products make it to store shelves in good condition. But adding plastics chemicals like ADA in order to better preserve bread and other products is not the solution. I urge you to immediately ban all use of ADA in food products. Tasked with creating the policies used to regulate “the composition, quality, safety, and labeling of foods, food and color additives,” according to the FDA, it is indeed your duty to do so.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer via Wikimedia