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Volume 10, Number 7 - July 2009


About Food Consulting Company

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Tara DelloIacono
Clif Bar & Company

Dear Readers, Food Consulting Company is a ready-resource when you need food labeling and restaurant labeling help. We know labeling work can be tedious and eat up your valuable time. Call on us to help. See

Q.  I heard that stevia can now be used in conventional foods (and not just dietary supplements). If true, are there special considerations I need to be aware of for labeling?      S.S., Food Manufacturer, IL


A.  Only rebaudioside A (RebA), an isolated component of the stevia plant is allowed by FDA for use in conventional foods. Read more.

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

MEAL/LEAN Compromise for Restaurant Labeling

On June 10, 2009, three US Senate healthcare committee members announced in a press release an industry and consumer-backed agreement that combines elements of the Menu Education and Labeling (MEAL) Act and the Labeling Education and Nutrition (LEAN) Act. According to the press release:

  • restaurants that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name would be required to disclose the number of calories per menu item on the menu or menu board 

  • additional nutrition information (total calories and calories from fat, and amounts of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein) would need to be immediately available in written form

  • operators of 20 or more vending machines would be required to disclose calories of food items offered in vending machines

The Senate committee press release indicated that the compromise will be a component of health reform legislation currently being debated.

National Restaurant Association issued a separate press release indicating support for the agreement and stated that the needs of both consumers and the restaurant industry will be best served by federal legislation that replaces varying state and local ordinances with a national standard.

Commentary: Food Label News reported on LEAN Act in April 2009 and MEAL Act in June 2009. Food Consulting Company is ready to help restaurateurs and vending machine operators provide nutrition information. Contact us.

FDA Proposes Food Labels Symbols Study

FDA is proposing to conduct an experimental study to assess quantitative consumer reactions to front-of-package nutrition symbols. The proposed study is described in the June 1, 2009, Federal Register.

In part the study design uses a Web-based survey to collect information from a sample of 2400 adults. Participants would view a label from a set of food labels that vary in the presence and type of symbol, the type of food product, and the quality of nutritional attributes of the product. The study would measure various consumer reactions described in the notice.

Read Federal Register notice

Commentary: Front-of-Pack labeling is a hot topic among Food Label News readers, and the newsletter has previously reported on FDA's study of food labels symbols:

FDA Begins Public Look at Food Labels Symbols, September 2007
FDA Guidance: Front-of-Package Symbols, February 2009
FDA Nutrition Roundtable Report, February 2009

Dietitian Group Reviews Food Labels Symbols

Experts from the American Dietetic Association recently reviewed five nutrient profiling programs that are designed for use in supermarket chains as symbols on shelf-tags or on labels. The dietitian group looked at who developed the program, the method used to rate foods, where symbols will appear (shelf-tag or label), and stores where symbols will appear.

The profiling programs are Guiding Stars, Healthy Ideas, Nutrition iQ, NuVal, and Smart Choices Program.

Findings by the dietitian group were reported to the public in a May 26, 2009, press release. The dietitians caution that the usefulness of shelf-tag and on-package symbols to consumers is yet to be measured.

Commentary: Food Consulting Company can help clients determine if a product currently in our system meets the criteria of various symbol programs. New products can also be reviewed to determine if they meet criteria. Contact us.

At Your Service: Choosing Full Label Compliance for a new or newly formulated product provides you with a completed database nutrition analysis and nutrition facts panel; fully compliant ingredient statement including allergens properly listed; label layout instructions and final label review; 90 day support for completed work; your time saved to work on other matters; peace of mind that labels are fully compliant.   

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