In the United States, the food industry is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, this federal agency has been responsible for the food safety and thus has to decide whether or not certain food additives are suitable to enter the market. To this day, the FDA, and the previous organizations have accepted more than 10,000 food additives.
Of course, not all food additives can be approved, this is why every time a manufacturer wants to try and incorporate a new food additive on the market he has to go through a procedure along with the FDA which will determine whether or not this food additive is safe. Another interesting rule is that all food additives are deemed not suitable for consummation until they actually have been proved harmless. This is especially the case for color additives that are seen as being more dangerous than other food additives.
Most of the products approved by the FDA thus had to go through a process of analysis in order to establish whether or not they were safe to consume. This also depends on the legislation of the country or the area in which the products are being used. For instance, some food additives may be approved by US organizations while they are banned in Europe and vice versa.
There is another way for a food additive to enter the market. The manufacturer can carry out a study about the ingredient he is trying to incorporate, explaining how it is harmless. This process could lead the product to being commercialized after having being classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).
To determine compliance, FDA observes the substance in itself, the short and/or long-terms health effects, and the conditions of use. This is why for instance some color additives have been banned in the U.S; because it has been proven that they were noxious for our health. They could indeed increase the hyperactivity of children, as well as provoking eczema and allergic reactions, among others.
These elements show us how important it is for the US food industry to be regulated by an organization such as the FDA. By constantly putting these food additives to the test and carrying out specific studies, it is possible to establish which ingredients are harmless and which have to be banned from our consummation.