FDA Says Walnuts Are Illegal DrugsAugust 2011
By William Faloon
To the Honorable:
Please co-sponsor the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364).
This is critical because more Americans are taking charge of their personal health—determined to improve their diets and emphasize preventive care in order to stay or get healthy. Consumers are looking for reliable information backed by legitimate scientific research to assist in making informed choices.
But FDA regulations currently prohibit producers of food from referring to any scientific study documenting the potential effect of the substance on a health condition. Violation of this ban can result in the FDA declaring common foods to be “unapproved drugs,” the sale of which is subject to large fines and jail. Even cherry growers have been told by the FDA that they face jail if they link to Harvard and other studies outlining the health benefits of cherries for gout or arthritis pain. The FDA has taken these actions against walnut growers as well.
The Free Speech About Science Act of 2011 provides a limited and carefully targeted change to FDA regulations so that legitimate, peer-reviewed, scientific studies may be referenced by manufacturers and producers without converting a healthy food into an unapproved drug. The bill amends the appropriate sections of current law to allow the flow of legitimate scientific and educational information while still giving the FDA and FTC the right to take action against misleading information and against false and unsubstantiated claims.
The Free Speech About Science Act:
(1) Provides a clear definition of the types of research that may be referenced by growers and manufacturers;
(2) Ensures that referencing such research does not convert a food or dietary supplement into an “unapproved [and therefore illegal] new drug;” and
(3) Does not in any way limit FDA and FTC authority to pursue any fraudulent and misleading statements.
All of us, no matter what our party or views about healthcare, are coming to see the importance of preventive care, or preventing illnesses before they start. Diet, dietary supplements, and lifestyle play a large role in prevention. The FDA should be at the forefront of this. Instead, it is blocking producers from giving consumers truthful scientific information about healthy foods.
The FDA responds that cherries and the like should be subjected to the full FDA approval process. But this would cost as much as a billion dollars. With few exceptions, it is not possible for food producers to assume such costs for natural and therefore non-patentable products.
This is the great Catch-22 of contemporary American medicine. The FDA should find a less expensive way to “vet” natural products. Respected university research suggests that in many cases natural products are safer, more efficacious, and of course much cheaper than drugs. In the meantime, we should modify the law to at least let producers cite valid peer-reviewed science.
Please help me gain the information I need to stay healthy; co-sponsor the Free Speech About Science Act (H.R. 1364)!
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