CSPI Sues FDA to Compel Action on Citizen Petition Challenging GRAS Status of Salt

October 9, 2015

By Ricardo Carvajal

The Center for Science in the Public Interested (CSPI) filed suit in the D.C. District Court to compel FDA to respond to CSPI’s 2005 citizen petition (Docket No. FDA-2005-P-0196) asking FDA to revoke the GRAS status of salt, require reduced levels of salt in processed foods, and require “health messages” on retail salt packages.  The complaint alleges that FDA’s failure to act violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and asks the court to order FDA to respond within 30 days of the court’s finding of an APA violation. 

CSPI’s complaint is similar in substance to the complaint filed by Dr. Fred Kummerow in 2013 alleging that FDA violated the APA when it failed to respond to his citizen petition seeking a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs).  FDA framed its recent declaratory order revoking the GRAS status of PHOs as a partial response to Dr. Kummerow’s citizen petition (see our previous post here).  There has been no indication that FDA intends to take such an action with respect to salt.  However, FDA has indicated its intent to seek gradual reduction of added sodium in the food supply.  We’ll therefore be keeping a close eye on developments in this area.