Food Label News, Government Actions for Food Labels, FDA Regulations, Food Labels, Nutrition Labels
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Volume 8, Number 5 - May 2007


About Food Consulting Company

"Because of you I could sleep at night knowing my work was being done right. Your team shows a high degree of expertise and is savvy in regards to business and customer service. I know I chose best when I chose Food Consulting Company to do my label work. Again I thank you for the incredible job!"

~ David Funaro
FoodNerds LLC

Greetings to our clients and guest subscribers! We work to get your products properly labeled and positioned in the best light within the law so that your efforts can be focused on maximizing product sales. Visit our Services Page for information on Full Label Compliance and Ongoing Regulatory Support; see our Reader Q&A Page for answers to featured questions from Food Label News subscribers.

Q.  Can I use my product label to tell how my food fits into MyPyramid guidelines?
     S.P., Established Food Manufacturer, Michigan


A.  FDA has not issued formal guidance on using MyPyramid on food labels, but in conversations with Food Consulting Company the Agency has referred to USDA's guidance document to explain how MyPyramid can be used on FDA-regulated food labels. Read more at Reader Q&A Page.


Submit a question for Reader Q&A (no charge).

Out-of-Compliance Food Labels - Who Cares

Food labels are routinely scrutinized for compliance with FDA regulations and for integrity of the various claims printed on food labels.

FDA posts warning letters on the FDA website. According to a spokesperson for FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA learns of non-compliant labels on foods via random checks, checks during inspections, consumer groups, individual consumers, competitors, etc. Warning letters direct food packagers to correct problem labels or face further FDA action.

One well-known consumer watch group (CSPI, Center for Science in the Public Interest) established a litigation project in 2005. Food Label News reported on the project in June 2005. The group remains active and most recently forced an agreement by Quaker Oats Company to drop certain claims on labels and in advertising that the litigation group says exaggerated the health benefits of eating oatmeal.

Commentary: FDA warning letters can be instructive for labelers. Recent letters have addressed noncompliance with ingredient statements and allergen labeling. See FDA warning letters.

CSPI frequently threatens a company with litigation for claims the organization deems as misleading or not truthful. See CSPI press releases.

Certain Foods May Be Expelled From School

On April 25, 2007, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published "Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way toward Healthier Youth." The report follows a mandate by Congress for the Center for Disease Control and the Institute of Medicine to review and recommend appropriate nutritional standards for foods available at school.

In part the report specifies complex standards for what foods can and cannot be served in schools, including:

  • limits on calories, fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugar per food portion as packaged

  • minimums for how much fruit, vegetable or whole grain must be present in combination foods per portion

  • limits on when sport drinks and beverages with nonnutritive sweeteners can be available

The report recommends incorporating the nutrition standards into school wellness policies and passing supportive legislation or regulation at federal, state or local levels.

Also on the horizon for changing what can and cannot be served/provided in schools are U.S. House of Representatives (H.R.1363) and Senate (S.771) bills that would amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to improve the nutrition and health of schoolchildren by updating the definition of "food of minimal nutritional value" to conform to current nutrition science.

Read nutrition standards report.

Proposed FDA Regulation - Irradiation on Food Labels

On April 4, 2007, FDA issued a proposal to revise the Agency's regulation for the labeling of foods treated with irradiation. The proposal deviates from current regulation published April 18, 1986, in part by:

  • requiring labeling only for food in which the irradiation causes a material change (change in organoleptic, nutritional, or functional properties) that is not readily apparent to the consumer at the point of purchase in the absence of appropriate labeling

  • requiring explicit language on the label describing the material change caused by irradiation

  • allowing use of alternate terms for irradiation, such as "pasteurized" that would be accompanied by explicit language describing the change in the food or why it is used e.g., "irradiated to inhibit sprouting"

The proposal requires that the "radura" logo be present on the label of affected foods, as does the current regulation. Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted by May 4, 2007

Read proposed rule.

Commentary: As reported in Food Label News (April 2007), an FDA spokesperson cited irradiation labeling as a 2007 fiscal year priority for FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Service Tip:  Food Consulting Company offers help with label statements and claims, including use of MyPyramid on food labels. Ongoing Regulatory Support provides periodic help (multiple times) throughout the year for one or more labels; One-time Regulatory Support provides one-time help for one label.

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Food Consulting Company
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