• Decrease font size
  • Return font size to normal
  • Increase font size
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

  • Print
  • Share
  • E-mail

This Week In FDA History - Nov. 23, 1977

Photo of saccharin being spinkled into a cup of coffee
November 23, 1977:
Congress passes the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act to stop the FDA from banning the chemical sweetener. The legislation instead requires a warning on the label of products containing saccharin stating, "Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals."

FDA in 2006

The FDA proposed the ban because of safety concerns after studies in which rats developed bladder cancer after receiving high doses of saccharin. This legislation was passed in response to a huge public uproar about the proposed ban, and allowed the product to stay on the market while more extensive safety studies were conducted. In 2000, the National Toxicology Program determined that saccharin should no longer be listed as a potential cancer-causing agent. Federal legislation followed in 2001, removing the requirement for the saccharin warning label.
Under the current regulation of food and color additives, the FDA must review the safety of food and color additives before they can be marketed. Sponsors of new food additives submit a petition to the agency that includes data that show the additive is safe for its intended use. There is a notification process for ingredients that are commonly used and "Generally Recognized as Safe," or GRAS. And developers of foods derived from bioengineered plants consult with the FDA to ensure that the safety of proposed genetic modifications of food plants is studied adequately.