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Executive Summary

REP. WEISS QUESTIONS FDA's LATEST COLOR DEADLINE EXTENSION in a letter sent to the agency Aug. 9. The letter quickly followed the agency's Aug. 2 Federal Register announcement that the provisional listing closing dates for nine color additives was extended from Aug. 3 to Oct. 2. In the letter, House Government Operations/Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources Subcmte. Chairman Ted Weiss (D-NY) asked FDA to explain this latest in a long string of delays. Weiss reportedly asked the agency what additional information it expected to get on the safety of the colors between now and Oct. 2 that might change its current stance on the colors. Additives whose closing dates were extended include: FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, D&C Red Nos. 8 and 9, D&C Red No. 33, D&C Orange No. 17 and D&C Red Nos. 19 and 37. Weiss also asked about the status of HHS Asst. Secty. Brandt's evaluation of the agency's recommendation to delist six of the dyes. In response to an earlier letter from Weiss, then FDA Acting Com. Novitch justified the last color deadline postponement -- from June 4 to Aug. 3 -- by pointing out that the additional time gave Brandt "an opportunity to evaluate fully the agency's recommendations." Novitch sent a "decision memo" to HHS in late March which advised that FD&C Red No. 3, D&C Red Nos. 8/9, D&C Orange No. 17 and D&C Red Nos. 19/37, be banned. Weiss' subcmte. launched its review of the FDA color additives program in March.

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