Delaney Clause

Source: USDA

The Delaney Clause in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) states that no additive shall be deemed to be safe for human food if it is found to induce cancer in man or animals.

The clause is an example of the zero tolerance concept in food safety policy.

The Delaney prohibition appears in three separate parts of the FFDCA:

  • Section 409 on food additives;
  • Section 512, relating to animal drugs in meat and poultry; and
  • Section 721 on color additives.

The Section 409 prohibition applied to many pesticide residues until enactment of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-170, August 3, 1996). This legislation removed pesticide residue tolerances from Delaney Clause constraints.



(2007). Delaney Clause. Retrieved from


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