A coalition of consumer and health groups is challenging a Food and Drug Administration rule that allows manufacturers to decide what can be added to processed foods.

The Center for Food Safety and four other groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday claiming the agency is illegally allowing self-interested food and chemical manufacturers to determine which chemical additives in food are safe.

The groups argue that the agency’s GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” rule that was finalized last August violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The 1938 law requires the FDA to confirm the safety of a substance before it can be introduced into the food supply.

“The GRAS Rule allows FDA to abdicate its core duty under the FDCA: to be responsible for the safety of the food supply,” the groups said in their complaint.

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