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Volume 6, Number 9 - September 2005


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Kraft Foods R&D Munich, Inc.

Dear Readers, This month Food Label News reports the answers obtained from an FDA spokesperson to recent reader questions that pertain to January 1, 2006, requirements for trans fat and food allergen labeling. Food Consulting Company can help you tackle all stages of your food labeling projects, and we can answer the tough questions that hold you from completing your projects. Visit for the help you need.

January 1, 2006 Compliance Date Triggers Explained

In February 2005, Food Label News reported on a letter from food industry members requesting that FDA harmonize the triggers for January 1, 2006, food label requirements. An FDA spokesperson has confirmed that FDA declined the request. The triggers for January 1, 2006, compliance are:

  • "Labeling of products" for allergen labeling

  • "Entry into interstate commerce" for trans fat labeling

Per the spokesperson, the "labeling of products" trigger means that food products that are produced and labeled prior to January 1, 2006, which are part of a firm's inventory, may be distributed in interstate commerce after January 1, 2006, until the product inventory is exhausted. However, the "entry into interstate commerce" trigger requires a trans fat listing in the Nutrition Facts for foods that enter interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2006; foods that enter interstate commerce prior to January 1, 2006, are not affected.

Access FDA links for trans fat and allergen labeling requirements:

See Food Label News report on the harmonization letter:

Commentary: Due to FDA's decline to harmonize triggers, manufacturers need to plan to have products with "old" labels in interstate commerce no later than December 31, 2005. It is worthy to note that products without trans fat and allergen labeling can legally be on store shelves after January 1, 2006; this will be the case if the products entered into interstate commerce on December 31, 2005 or earlier.

Clams/Oysters -- Not Required Allergens on Food Labels

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA), requires only that the presence of crustacean shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab, crayfish, prawns) in a food, and not the presence of mollusk shellfish (oysters, clams, snails, mussels, scallops), must be indicated in the food label allergen statement. A spokesperson for FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition confirmed that food labels would be in compliance with FALCPA when only crustacean shellfish are identified.


Commentary: Food Consulting Company sought FDA comment on the wording of FALCPA, which specifically states "crustacean shellfish" since many food allergen lists identify "shellfish" as one of the eight most common allergens, without distinguishing between crustacean and mollusk.

Nutrition Labels for Children -- No Trans Fat Exemption

A spokesperson from FDA's Center For Food Safety and Applied Nutrition confirmed with Food Consulting Company that foods labeled for children less than two-years of age are required by the trans fat final rule to declare trans fatty acids within the nutrition facts label of products that enter into interstate commerce on or after January 1, 2006.

Read trans fat final rule:

Commentary: Food Consulting Company sought FDA comment on the trans fat requirement because the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act restricts foods intended for children less than two-years of age from listing calories from fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and cholesterol in the nutrition facts label. However, the trans fat final rule does not exempt foods for children less than two-years of age from the trans fat labeling requirements.

FYI:  Food Consulting Company can answer or get answers to your tough food labeling questions. Submit your question here; choose the option for Regulatory Research. Your question will be answered within 10 business days when you choose standard service; rush options are available.
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