This week: Cancer-causing Red 3 remains legal for use in food one year after CSPI’s petition was filed with the FDA; lead-tainted applesauce sickens 22 children; New York enacts new sugar labeling laws or fast food restaurants; and more.

Food safety, health, and nutrition news this week

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert advising that children showing symptoms be tested for lead poisoning after multiple states reported potential cases of high blood lead levels in children who had consumed cinnamon-containing applesauce products that have been recalled by the manufacturers. As of Monday, the Food and Drug Administration has received 22 reports of illness potentially linked to the recalled products. There are currently no federal regulations for heavy metals testing in foods, though in October California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 899 into law, requiring testing and reporting of levels for lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in infant and baby foods sold in that state. The FDA is once again behind the states in protecting Americans from dangerous foods and contaminants; CSPI urges Congress to authorize the FDA to require heavy metals testing and mandatory reporting.

Read CSPI’s statement: Congress must act to protect children from lead in food

It has been one year since CSPI and 23 partner organizations petitioned the FDA to ban Red dye No. 3, a carcinogenic synthetic food dye banned in 1990 from topical drugs and cosmetics. For 33 years, the FDA has failed to keep its promise and uphold its duty to remove this known carcinogen from American foods, where it can still be found in thousands of candiessnacks, and fruit products. Though the FDA is required to respond to filed petitions within 180 days, as of this writing, the agency has yet to propose amending regulations to delist Red 3 or substantively respond to our petition. 

Read more on CSPI: Red 3: Why hasn’t the FDA banned this carcinogenic food dye?

Sign our petition: Help ban cancer-causing Red 3

Mayor Eric Adams today signed historic legislation passed by the New York City Council that will require warnings on all menu items at chain restaurants that contain more than a day’s worth of added sugars. The Sweet Truth Act expands on an earlier sugar warnings policy the City Council passed in 2021 that covered only limited items sold in restaurants and had not yet been implemented due to the pandemic. The bill will also require a factual warning statement about high added sugars intake, which will be displayed at the register, on the menu board, and next to places where high-sugar items are dispensed, such as soda fountains.  

Read more: NYC Mayor Eric Adams signs Sweet Truth Act

New York City to require warnings on all chain restaurant menu items that are high in added sugars

All people deserve dignity and access to fresh, healthy food. But 89 percent of incarcerated people in the D.C. Department of Corrections facilities say they are not served enough food to feel full, and 72 percent report being served rotten food or milk. That’s why CSPI has joined DC Greens in endorsing DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto’s FRESH STARTS Act, which would overhaul the inhumane and unsafe meal program in DC’s jails by setting requirements for nutrient-dense food served in correctional facilities and increased oversight of food and nutrition in correctional facilities. FRESH STARTS also establishes a task force to explore and propose additional long-term improvements to meal programs and nutrition for incarcerated people. We need full your support to make it happen.

Read the report (PDF): ‘We’re Hungry in Here’: Food Insecurity Behind the Walls of D.C.’s Jails

Sign the petition: Unhealthy food makes every sentence a life sentence

How you handle food matters—whether it’s meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, or leftovers. The harmful bugs that cause food poisoning can show up in any of those foods. Here’s how to lower your risk this holiday season.

Read more at NutritionActionDon't let food poisoning ruin your holidays

We’re hiring! CSPI helped lead the effort for passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a landmark law that got soda and most junk food out of schools and ensures that school meals provide more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less salt and saturated fat. Since then, we have been working to defend science-based school nutrition requirements, ensure schools have the tools they need to provide healthy, delicious meals, and ensure school meal standards remain aligned with the most up-to-date expert recommendations. Now, we are accepting applications for a Policy Associate position. CSPI is also open to pitches from freelance writers and journalists.

Learn more: CSPI Job Opportunities

Pitch us: Write for CSPI 


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