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Volume 9, Number 12 - December 2008


About Food Consulting Company

"I wholeheartedly recommend these folks.  They have always been open and honest when discussing product development issues and new product launches. We are very satisfied with their abilities to deliver accurate nutritional information and labeling advice."

– Michael Girkout
Alvarado Street Bakery

Season's Greetings! We hope this holiday season includes a break from work along with joyful time with family and friends. Best wishes for a happy holiday season from Food Consulting Company.

Q.  I am launching a line of side dishes and some will contain bacon. Are they covered by USDA or FDA labeling rules?
A.S., Start-Up Food Company, Florida


A.  It depends on the amount of bacon in the formulation. Read more.

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

FDA to Communicate Food Labels Work Updates

In November 2008, FDA announced a December 12, 2008, meeting to communicate the status of FDA's nutrition activities. The meeting title is "Nutrition Roundtable Discussion with Stakeholders." In part, tentative topics are:

  • foods referred to as functional foods

  • health claims and associated research

  • front-of-pack labeling

  • sodium status

  • collaboration between FDA and USDA nutrition education and outreach

See meeting announcement.

Commentary: During 2008, Food Label News reported on these and many other nutrition activities of FDA as they were reported in the Federal Register and on FDA's web site. See Food Label News 2008 archive to refresh on other outstanding FDA food labeling activities that might be discussed at the meeting.

Coming! Front-of-Pack Food Labels Symbol

A non-government coalition has introduced a new voluntary front-of-pack labeling program under the name Smart Choices Programô. The coalition included scientists, academicians, health and research organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and retailers. Several government agencies including FDA, USDA and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) served as observers and advisors during development.

The Smart Choices Coalition hopes the program/logo will be the single, trusted symbol used throughout the food industry to help consumers make nutritious choices. To bear the symbol products must meet specified nutrition criteria and display calories per serving and number of servings per container on the front of the food package.

The management structure for the Program is still in development. A spokesperson from the coalition anticipates it will be a non-profit organization, and that companies will pay a modest fee to apply for the Program and an annual fee to keep products registered. The first product labels carrying the symbol are expected in grocery stores beginning in mid-2009.

See Smart Choices Program website.

Commentary: With Client File Review service, Food Consulting Company can help clients determine if a product currently in our system meets the criteria to bear the Smart Choices Programô symbol. New products can also be reviewed to determine if they meet the criteria. Contact us.

2008 Food Label News Reader Favorites

Food Label News readers frequently communicate to the newsletter staff and Food Consulting Company website to compliment Food Label News. The most frequent compliment is that the newsletter always includes links to primary source documents and to earlier Food Label News articles. Readers say this multiplies the value of reading the newsletter many times.

To celebrate and draw attention to this reader-valued feature we are listing the three 2008 Food Label News articles that generated the most clicks on links. These top articles give an indication about top concerns of food labelers. The articles with links are:

At Your Service:  Do you need reformulation guidance to meet a specific nutrient profile or to make an ingredient substitution? Food Consulting Company will work with you to meet your specific requirements. Order Reformulation Guidance in conjunction with Full Label Compliance or Nutrition Facts Panel.

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