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Volume 10, Number 3 - March 2009


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Q.  I have seen products with a Nutrient Content Claim (NCC) stating "0 grams trans fat." I have not found this claim to be one of the approved NCC claims. Is the claim illegal or allowed?      M.C., Registered Dietitian, New Hampshire


A.  "0 grams trans fat per serving" is a factual statement, not a defined nutrient content claim.  Read more.

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Food Labels Carb Claims - Report Issued

In January 2009, FDA issued an analysis report titled "Experimental Study of Carbohydrate Claims on Food Packages." The document outlines results from a study conducted in March 2006 that was designed to evaluate carbohydrate claims and disclosure statements in terms of their effects on consumers’ understanding and ability to make product judgments for healthy dietary practices. The report does not mention how or how soon the study findings will be used.

The historical base for the study is the popularity of low carbohydrate diets in the early part of this decade (2003-2004). Industry began incorrectly using words such as "low," "reduced," or "free" on labels to describe carbohydrate content; FDA told industry that this is not allowed since the terms are Nutrient Content Claims. In a March 2004 fact sheet on carbohydrate, FDA stated the intent to initiate rulemaking for carbohydrate content labeling.

Read report.

Read Fact Sheet.

Commentary: While labelers cannot use terms regulated as Nutrient Content Claims to describe carbohydrate content per serving, they can use statements of fact on labels; see Food Label News October 2003. Net carbohydrate statements that are truthful and not misleading can also be used; see Food Label News February 2004. The articles are helpful to labelers who want to appeal to the carbohydrate-conscious consumer. Additional articles on carb labeling are: November 2003, April 2004, May 2004.

Food Labels Health Claims Update

In January 2009, FDA issued "Guidance for Industry Evidence-Based Review System for the Scientific Evaluation of Health Claims." This document replaces a draft version issued in July 2007.

The guidance represents the Agency's current thinking on:

  • the process for evaluating the scientific evidence for a health claim

  • the meaning of the significant scientific agreement (SSA) standard

  • credible scientific evidence to support a qualified health claim

Read guidance.

Commentary: Soon after this latest guidance was issued, FDA was criticized for allowing Qualified Health Claims in a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) press release. Food Label News has reported extensively on pressures to eliminate this type of claim. FDA continues to allow the claims in response to legal challenge that called use of such claims a right under the U.S. Constitution First Amendment right to free speech. See earlier Food Label News articles: September 2007, October 2007, December 2007, February 2008, and April 2008.

FDA Issues Food Labels Guidance - Seafood List

In January 2009, FDA issued "Guidance for Industry - The Seafood List - FDA's Guide to Acceptable Market Names for Seafood Sold in Interstate Commerce." The guidance:

  • explains what FDA considers to be acceptable market names for seafood sold in interstate commerce

  • defines the different categories of names found in "The Seafood List"

  • outlines principles that can be used to label seafood species sold in the United States with an appropriate, non-misleading statement of identity

Read guidance.

Commentary: Food Consulting Company can help with product naming for seafood and all FDA-regulated foods when you order Full Label Compliance or Label Compliance Review.

At Your Service:  Labeling products with consumer appealing statements of fact and FDA compliant label claims can help products sell.  For help, see Services.

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