Leave the expertise on food additives to the FDA

Jordan almonds contain titanium dioxide and red #3, two of the ingredients that would be banned from retail sales in Illinois under a proposed bill. The head of the National Confectioners Association says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not legislators, should make such decisions.

Stephanie Zimmermann/Sun-Times

A Jan. 24 editorial in the Sun-Times (“Keep red dye No. 3, other potentially harmful additives out of food to protect Illinoisans’ health”) expressed support for a legislative proposal that would ban food and color additives, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved. This is a complete overstep by legislators who are out of their depth when it comes to our nation’s science-based food safety system.

Illinoisans should rely on the scientific rigor of the FDA in terms of evaluating the safety of food ingredients and additives, not the state legislature. The proposed bill would replace a uniform national food safety system with a patchwork of inconsistent state requirements created by legislative fiat that will increase food costs, undermine consumer confidence and create confusion around food safety.

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The FDA continuously reviews food additives and proactively addresses consumer concerns. In fact, a number of the ingredients and additives in the proposed ban are currently under FDA review or were recently reviewed. In the case of brominated vegetable oil (BVO), the FDA recently conducted its own studies and has initiated steps to remove BVO from the U.S. food supply. This is how our food safety system was designed to work, and it’s a real-time example of it working. The proposed bill would also ban an additional additive, titanium dioxide. This ignores recent findings that the color additive is safe, by the FDA in 2021 and a World Health Organization expert committee in October 2023.

The U.S. food system is the envy of the world, and the FDA is fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that it stays that way. Illinois legislators should leave these science-based decisions to the experts.

John Downs, president and CEO, National Confectioners Association

Cop who attended insurrection should get pink slip

Now that Chicago Police Officer Karol Chwiesiuk has been convicted and sentenced to three months of home detention in federal court, can he be fired, instead of being on “unpaid leave”? That status sounds like a back-door left open to rehiring this criminal.

Barry Aldridge, Lake View

Don’t blow off prostate cancer screening

With the recent news (sending many prayers) of Ryne Sandberg having metastatic prostate cancer, I implore all men to please start prostate cancer screening at the first chance that their doctor recommends. There is so much information out there for breast cancer screening and other cancers, but prostate cancer seems to be ignored.

It’s a simple blood test and an incredibly quick physical exam. Maybe men are uncomfortable at the though of this test, but the procedure is very quick and not at all what a man may imagine. The real question is, would they rather have this quick no-brainer test or roll the dice with their lives?

Our doctor told my husband when it was time to go for the test in his 50s and a routine exam diagnosed him with prostate cancer. Because of this, he is still with us years later. Come on guys, do it for yourself and everyone who loves you. With cancer, prevention is a weapon. Get it before it gets you.

Louise Bajorek, Burbank

Trump card

I view Donald Trump as I would a deck of cards. What’s the first thing we do when we open up a new deck? We get rid of the joker card. Now we’re working with a full deck.

Norman De Dore, Garfield Ridge

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