In 1959, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a list of seven hundred food substances that were exempt from the then new requirement that manufacturers test food additives before putting them on the market. The Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, list acknowledged that many additives had existing scientific evidence of long and safe use in food. Among the additives on the list are sugar, salt, spices, and vitamins. Manufacturers can petition for GRAS status for new additives if the substances meet the criteria cited above. GRAS list additives are continually reevaluated based on current scientific evidence.

Susan T. Borra