What's the Latest Development?
Under current legislation, it is illegal to make claims about the health benefits of food products without those products undergoing rigorous testing. While these requirements are ostensibly meant to protect and benefit the consumer, their true function is to guarantee the pharmaceutical industry a monopoly over health claims. "A drug is not defined by its molecular composition but as anything that claims that it can be used to mitigate disease." Given this definition, known health benefits of certain foods compete with new medicines.
What's the Big Idea?
Were a food manufacturer to make claims about the health benefits of eating a particular food, unless the claims were tested according to F.D.A. protocol, they would be illegal. While individuals should be protected from the charms of the snake oil salesman, the financial barrier to entry in bringing a new drug to market is too high. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, developing, testing and approving a new drug costs over $500 million, effectively eliminating small food producers from making health claims.