"Under the Food Additives Amendment, two groups of ingredients were exempted from the United States regulation process:
GROUP I — Prior-sanctioned substances — are substances that FDA or USDA had determined safe for use in food prior to the 1958 amendment. Examples are sodium nitrite and potassium nitrite used to preserve luncheon meats.
GROUP II — GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) ingredients — are those that are generally recognized by experts as safe, based on their extensive history of use in food before 1958 or based on published scientific evidence.
Among the several hundred GRAS substances are salt, sugar, spices, vitamins and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Manufacturers may also request that FDA review the industry’s determination of GRAS Status."