Nitrate labeling debate

California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) wants a panel of scientific experts to review data on sodium nitrite before listing it as "harmful to consumers" under the State's Proposition 65 chemical warning label law.

Sodium nitrite is used as a food ingredient to prevent botulism. OEHHA's decision was hailed as a "victory for sound science and common sense" by GMA, which had argued strenuously for removing the chemical from a group of substances under review. Sodium nitrite is approved by FDA as a food additive and is a critical ingredient in cured meats. Until now, OEHHA had simply relied on data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory which, GMA noted, does not meet the state agency's accepted scientific standards that govern the listing of developmental toxicants.

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