Food Label News, Government Actions for Food Labels, FDA Regulations, Food Labels, Nutrition Labels
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Volume 7, Number 7 - July 2006


About Food Consulting Company

"Thank you for your swift response. We are pleased with the work you have done for us, and will definitely use your company again in the future."

– Jonathan Lin
Auna Kiwi

Dear Readers,

Increase the value of time spent reading Food Label News. Send your food labeling question for consideration in an upcoming issue of the monthly newsletter. Each month Food Label News answers the question that has the greatest appeal to the readership. Your answer could be answered for free. Learn more about the new Reader Q&A Spot in Food Label News, May 2006.

Q.  What is FDA's stand on GMO labeling?
      K.W., Food Importer/Broker, Connecticut

A.  This is a question we encounter from time-to-time from food importers and others who request full service label help on their products. Certain label statements are allowed, while others such as "GMO-free" are not. See Reader Q&A Page for the complete answer.

To submit a question for future consideration, please send us an email.

FDA Warns on Food Labels Additives/Claims

In a May 31, 2006, letter to a candy bar maker, FDA warns that candy bars containing folic acid are adulterated since folic acid as an ingredient is subject to a food additive regulation (21CFR172.345). The regulation does not allow the addition of folic acid to candy products because of possible serious health repercussions in some people. FDA also warns that the candy bar labels bear false or misleading claims (e.g., "Promotes a Healthy Heart"), as well as claims that promote the bars for uses that cause them to be drugs (e.g., "Formulated to Help Reduce Bad Cholesterol").

Read FDA warning letter.

Commentary: Writing label claims that are compliant with FDA regulations can be tricky and time consuming. Companies can receive prompt, expert help in developing FDA-compliant claims by purchasing an Ongoing Regulatory Support Plan from Food Consulting Company.

Physicians Urge Changes in Sodium Allowances

In a June 13, 2006, press release, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced its recommendations that would require FDA to:

  • revoke the "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status of salt

  • develop regulatory measures to limit sodium in processed and restaurant foods

  • improve labeling to assist consumers in understanding the amount of sodium contained in processed food products

  • develop label markings and warnings for foods high in sodium

Read AMA press release.

Commentary: A consumer advocacy group filed a lawsuit in February, 2005, with demands similar to AMA; see Food Label News, March 2005. FDA has struggled to meet demands to require lower sodium content in commercially-prepared foods. In October 2005, the Agency published a final rule on sodium levels for the term healthy and in that rule identified technological barriers and poor consumer sales as inhibitors to reducing sodium content below certain levels. See Food Label News archive (June 2002, March 2003, October 2005) for background on FDA and lower sodium levels.

FDA Continues Obesity Working Group Plan

On June 2, 2006, FDA announced findings from the report, Keystone Forum on Away-From-Home Foods: Opportunities for Preventing Weight Gain and Obesity. On advice from the 2004 Obesity Working Group, FDA commissioned a facilitator (Keystone Group) to develop a consensus among representatives from industry, government, academia, and the civic sector on what can be done to support consumers' ability to manage calorie intake while consuming away-from-home foods.

The report makes a number of recommendations including:

  • away-from-home food establishments should provide consumers with calorie information in a standard format that is easily accessible

  • marketing should shift from promoting higher-calorie/calorie-dense foods and large portions to increased promotion of lower-calorie and less-calorie-dense foods

  • more less-calorie-dense menu items should be offered

Read FDA press release.

Commentary: At this time, restaurant menu items are exempt from nutrition labeling unless they bear nutrition claims. Restaurants increasingly provide this information to consumers on a voluntary basis.

Service Tip: Restaurant Nutrition/Allergen Labeling
Food Consulting Company helps restaurants provide all types of nutrition and allergen information to meet customer needs and demands, including calories and fat per serving for individual items and meal combinations. For more information

If your company has a product or service complementary to the services of Food Consulting Company and you would like to talk about featuring it in this newsletter, please send us an email.

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© Food Consulting Company, 2006
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