If you were a kid in the 90s (or an adult) you might remember WOW chips. The chips that had a food additive to replace fats in home and commercial uses.
Approved for usage in 1993 by the FDA, by 1996 the FDA started to put warnings on food products in 1996 for gastric issues that were caused by eating foods with Olestra. Unfortunately, people who ate food with the Olestra didn’t just suffer issues when they ate those WOW chips. Anything they ate during around the same time caused issues too. If the person ate an apple, meat, or any other good food, the good parts of the food were not absorbed. People eating Olestra chips not only had gastro intestinal issues, but also started suffering vitamin deficiencies as well.
The FDA hasn’t rescinded Olestra as a legal food additive, however it has been shown as detrimental to those who have eaten it.
Why do I bring up Olestra? Because the FDA often approves and keeps things on the market that are not beneficial.
Although FDA does not have premarket approval of food products, it has the authority to approve certain ingredients before they are used in foods. Those include food additives, such as substances added intentionally to food, and color additives.
Companies that want to add new food additives to food are responsible for providing FDA with information demonstrating that the additives are safe. FDA experts review the results of appropriate tests done by companies to ensure that the food additive is safe for its intended use. An approved food additive must be used in compliance with its approved uses, specifications, and restrictions.
Using Our Own Common Sense
WOW chips caused a lot of havoc on the bodies but yet it was a feel good thing. There are so many other “feel good” things out there that we deal with every day that may be “approved”. There have been many drugs throughout the years that have been FDA approved and later rescinded. According to a CNN report, one third of the drugs that FDA approved between 2001 and 2010 were later pulled from the market because of safety issues.
Olestra was just a big, poopy mess of the FDA’s in the 1990s that was let loose on grocery store shelves, but the FDA marches on with a horrible track record of approving things that aren’t suitable for mass consumption.