Health aspects of food additives. Johnson PE, Am J Public Health Nations Health 1966 Jun;56(6):948-51


The benefits to public health resulting from use of food additives are great and stem primarily from the role of these chemicals in increasing food production, in conserving foods in storage, and in making foods continuously available in acceptable form through processing. The benefits greatly outweigh any hazard detected by present methods of toxicology and safety evaluation. That hazards not detected by present methods might exist is recognized, and continuing reevaluation of the safety of each use in light of new information or new technology is necessary.
After 3 pages on the benefits of the use of preservatives, pesticides, etc., he asks:

What then is the source of the public anxiety about these substances? The proponent of the chemical or use and the regulatory agencies attempt to assure that the use will be safe. In the main the only methods available leave more or less justifiable doubts about actual safety for man, about possible effects from long-term ingestion, and about possible additive and synergistic relations among the host of additives and other chemical constituents of foods. Opponents play on these doubts and raise fears that current incidences of diseases are related to use of food chemicals or even that the future of the race is endangered by their use. Since it is impossible for proponents to demonstrate with complete finality that opponents are wrong, the public anxiety remains.

. . .

Since absolute safety of a use can never be demonstrated and present toxicologic methods are not adequate to assure that no long-term effect will be exerted by a chemical, it is mandatory that such reevaluation be done periodically.....Finally, studies of populations exposed to food additive chemicals during manufacture and use (or otherwise) might reveal long-term hazards not demonstrable in the laboratory, and such studies should be, and frequently are, part of the continuing evaluation of safety of these chemicals.