On June 27, the Vitamin D Council, a nonprofit educational corporation, announced that it intends to file a complaint with the Attorney General against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “regarding policies that disparately afflict African Americans.”
“The Vitamin D Council argues that through a combination of mandated and encouraged practices, the FDA depends upon milk to deliver virtually all supplemental dietary vitamin D to Americans,” the group said in a press release. “The FDA knows African Americans consume little milk, particularly relative to Caucasian Americans.”
The Vitamin D Council is asking citizens across the country to sign a petition backing the complaint.
“Vitamin D is a hormone activated by sunlight. Due to their darker skin, African Americans require six to ten times the amount of sun exposure Caucasian Americans do to activate the same amount of vitamin D. In consequence, African Americans are much more likely to be deficient in vitamin D,” the petition read. “The FDA, in effect, chooses to fortify a food that does not target a population who most need vitamin D. Please join us to call upon the FDA to mandate and encourage fortifying foods with vitamin D that African Americans are more likely and able to consume.”
Vitamin D is a hormone created by the human body as a reaction to sunlight exposure, and there are very few foods that naturally contain it. For individuals with darker skin, or skin that is particularly sensitive to sunlight, supplementation is vital to avoid Vitamin D deficiency — which has been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer, diabetes and several neurological conditions.