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Volume 10, Number 4 - April 2009


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A.  Yes, Food Consulting Company offers a Shelf Life Evaluation service. Read more.

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Congress Acts to Require Restaurant Labeling

In March 2009, the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act of 2009 (LEAN Act) was introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The bill as written would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require nutrition labeling of a standard food item that is offered for sale in a food service establishment that is part of a chain that operates 20 or more establishments under the same trade name.

Additionally the bill requires disclosure of calories prior to point of purchase in a prescribed way and additional nutrition information to be in writing and available upon request. It allows nutrient content of affected foods to be determined by nutrient database, laboratory analysis, or other means that provide a reasonable basis for nutrient information.

The U.S. House action does not affect current labeling practices for restaurant foods until the measure is included in a bill that the president signs. As written the bill requires final regulations to be issued not later than two years after the Act is signed into law.

Read bill - search bill numbers S558 and H1398

Commentary: Food Consulting Company helps restaurants provide all types of nutrition and allergen information to customers. Database analysis is typically used to determine nutrient content and laboratory analysis is available if needed. FDA actually encourages the use of nutrient databases as a low-cost alternative to laboratory analysis.

When performed correctly database analysis can be a better predictor of a product's nutrient content than laboratory analysis. This is because the database method utilizes values that are based on statistical average of multiple samples of a commodity or recipe component; laboratory analysis is typically performed on one sample.

NRA Supports National Labeling Standard for Restaurant Food

In March 2009, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) issued a press release stating the organization's support for the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act of 2009 (LEAN Act) that was introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives the same month. NRA says, "while the LEAN Act would require a uniform national standard, the law also would provide for a single set of guidelines in how nutrition information is calculated and will provide legal protection for those restaurants that abide by the law."

See press release

Commentary: Food Consulting Company president and founder, Karen C. Duester, MS, RD, spoke to the National Restaurant Association Nutrition Study Group, in April 2007, to address nutrient profiles generated from database nutrition analysis systems. See Food Label News April 2007.

From this experience and work with Food Consulting Company restaurant clients, we know that national standards for restaurant menu labeling will be welcome by the industry.

FDA To Launch Gluten Food Labels Study

The March 6, 2009, Federal Register announces that FDA is planning to conduct an experimental study on gluten-free labeling of food products. FDA is accepting comments on the study until May 5, 2009. The purpose of the study is to:

  • gauge perceptions of characteristics related to claims of "gluten-free'' and allowed variants (e.g., "free of gluten,'' "without gluten,'' "no gluten''), in addition to other types of statements (e.g., "made in a gluten-free facility'' or "not made in a facility that processes gluten-containing foods'') on the food label

  • assess consumer understanding of "gluten-free'' claims on foods that are naturally free of gluten

  • measure consumer reaction to a product carrying a gluten claim concurrently with a statement about the amount of gluten the product contains

Read announcement

Commentary: Your labels will be allergen compliant when you order Food Consulting Company's Ingredient Statement service, Full Label Compliance or Label Compliance Review.

At Your Service:  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. More Information or Contact Us.

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