I've spent my entire life afraid of salad bars. Well, not the bars themselves, but the sulfites used on the lettuce and other fresh vegetables. I'm allergic to sulfites, as are over 10 million other Americans, yet they remain a popular additive used to enhance the green color of produce, particularly in restaurants and cafeterias. A great idea, unless you are allergic to them.
My parents gathered a mountain of evidence about sulfites after they learned of my allergy. It seems they don't pose a "sizable risk" to the public and "offer great tangible benefits" to food distributors everywhere. Sulfites are a food enhancer, a chemical agent that gives salad eaters a "warm fuzzy" by making their greens a little greener. The FDA approved their use without a hitch. My parents often sarcastically ask what kind of jerk would approve something so dangerous. While we may never know that person's name, I promise you that I will be the food scientist who gets them banned.
I've managed to avoid a serious sulfite threat by carrying a portable test kit when I eat out. I can touch a piece of food with an indicator strip and determine if sulfites are present. It keeps me out of danger. But many people can't afford these test kits and others don't know they have the allergy. The only serious long-term solution is to either ban sulfites or to enforce serious labelling regulations. The FDA has no interest in either.
I've decided that the FDA needs more people like me, who will use both their science background with genuine concern for the public good. I'm a good candidate for them. I have a great background in biochemistry, I'm passionate about public safety and I'm an energetic public speaker. I hope to find my niche either...