US health group says there’s no evidence that clams cause cancer
USA Today article US health groups are calling on the US Food and Drug Administration to remove clams from its list of approved drugs after an analysis found there is no evidence they cause cancer.
The US National Cancer Institute said in a statement on Tuesday that the FDA is “reviewing” the data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that clays are safe to eat and that they do not cause cancer or other diseases.
“The data do not support the idea that clay consumption poses a health risk to consumers,” the NIH said in the statement.
“The NIH and CDC do not recommend the FDA require the FDA to withdraw the approval of clays as approved drugs, nor do they recommend any action to reduce consumption of clay products,” it added.
Clays are among the most popular products in the US, with some of the largest markets such as Canada and Australia, but there are also several other products made with them including pasta, salad dressings, soups, sauces and canned products.
Last year, a report from the NIH concluded that there was no convincing evidence that eating more clays could cause cancer, although the report did not consider all of the scientific evidence.
The National Institutes for Health has not responded to requests for comment from Engadgets on the new findings.
Clays were initially approved for use in animal feed in the early 1900s as a way to reduce pollution, and they were used for their oil in cosmetics in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, the FDA approved them for human consumption in 1996, and in 2006 the FDA added them to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which set the national average daily intake for all foods.
In the US this year, the average daily clays intake is now about 1,300, and the average monthly intake is about 1.2 million, according to the CDC.
In a press release, the American Cancer Society (ACS) said it would file a lawsuit to overturn the FDA’s decision to remove the clams as approved products.
“Clays may be one of the best-studied foods in the world and they are the first food to be tested in humans, so they have the potential to reduce the risk of disease,” said Alicia J. O’Connor, ACS vice president for policy.
“While this decision has been made in good faith, the ACS is asking the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider its action, especially given the large number of cancer deaths associated with clays and the high risk they pose for cancer.
We urge them to make the right decision, and to move forward with a full review of the science and data supporting this important food for American consumers,” she said.