Volume 11, Number 12 - December
Hello from Food
With the season of gingerbread and spiced cider upon us,
it’s a great time of year to reach out and connect with your
colleagues in the
Food Label Community.
We hope you can take a break from the business of food
labeling this holiday season and enjoy happy times with
family and friends.
Happy Holidays from your friends at Food Consulting Company.
Front-of-Pack Food Labels:
Where Will the Dust Settle?
As marketers seek to persuade
consumers to try their products, the front-of-pack (FOP) has
become a billboard to communicate benefits. Over the past
several years a plethora of nutrition symbols and systems
have appeared on the front of packages which confuse
consumers and challenge food labelers. Sorting through what
is acceptable and what is not is the next regulatory hurdle.
Here's what we know:
IOM Report - In October, the Institute
of Medicine (IOM) released a
Phase 1 report of their
in-depth evaluation of current FOP systems. They
segmented 20 representative systems into three
Nutrient-Specific Systems: e.g., UK
Traffic Light, General Mills Nutrition Highlight
Summary Indicator Systems: e.g., AHA Heart Check, NuVal,
Guiding Stars, Kraft Sensible Solution
Information Systems: e.g., Whole Grain Council Whole
Grain Stamp, ConAgra Start Making Choices
concluded that serving size, along with calories,
saturated fat, trans fat and sodium are the most
critical components to include on front-of-pack
IOM plans to complete Phase 2 of the study in
2011; this second phase will focus on consumer
use/understanding and determining which systems best
promote public health. The Phase 2 report will include
recommendations for developing standardized FOP system(s).
GMA/FMI Initiative -
Also in October, leading retailer and
product manufacturer industry groups, Grocery
Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing
Institute (FMI), joined forces to establish a
new FOP nutrition
labeling initiative. While still finalizing
the details on technical and design elements, it is
expected that food labelers will begin using this new
system in 2011. The system from GMA/FMI will focus
on "nutrient-dense" diets and "shortfall" nutrients.
Keeping You Current
NYC reports that six new
companies have joined the National Salt Reduction Initiative
FTC issued separate warning
letters to the same companies who have used caffeine as a
food additive in alcoholic malt beverages
FDA announces a meeting on
March 30-31, 2011, to discuss FD&C certified colors (i.e.,
Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40) and behavior issues in children
From the Archive
FDA label components:
Is FDA approval of food labels
How can I make sure my label meets FDA
Which address to use on the signature
network in food labeling. Join the
Food Label Community on
between IOM’s exclusive focus on "over consumption"
nutrients (calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium)
and GMA/FMI's focus on the "short fall" nutrients is clear.
As the dust settles on FOP regulations, food
labelers will likely have until at least January 1, 2014 (uniform
compliance date) to adopt any new requirements.
5 Must-Haves for FDA Food Labels:
Part 5 of 5
In the last 4 months,
we have profiled the five required components for
every FDA regulated food label. In addition to
Net Contents Statement,
the last required component is what is commonly
referred to as the Signature Line.
All packages are
required to include the name, street address, city,
state and zip code (or country and postal code if
outside U.S.) of the responsible party. While the
telephone number and website are optional, they
cannot be used in lieu of the address. Note that the
street address can be omitted if it is readily
available in a local telephone directory (Google
– The manufacturer, distributor, importer or
marketer must be identified. If it is an entity
other than the manufacturer, then a phrase such
as "distributed by," "made exclusively for" or
"imported by" must precede the signature.
Placement – The
Signature Line is placed on the information
panel along with the Nutrition Facts and
Ingredient List. These three components must be
placed together without intervening material.
Type size – Use a
type size that is at least 1/16 inch in height
(based on the lower case "o" unless all upper
case letters are used) and that is prominent,
conspicuous, and easy to read.
In summary, you can
access a one page overview of all five FDA regulated
While the Country of Origin is not an FDA requirement, it is
required by U.S. Customs for imported products and typically
follows the signature line ("Product of Brazil," "Made in
Mexico"). The actual country needs to be specified, not the
continent ("Product of EU" is not acceptable).
When a product like Fruitabu or V8 vegetable juice says
"contains a serving of fruit" or "contains a serving of
vegetables" what does that mean? What methodology
are they using, because when you look at the NLEA serving sizes or the USDA serving size for a fruit
or vegetable, the calories, total sugar and fiber are
inconsistent with how the product is labeled?
− D.K., Pediatric Nutritionist, Connecticut
FDA does not define
serving sizes for food groups (i.e., fruits, vegetables,
grains). FDA’s Reference Amounts (the NLEA serving
sizes) are the amounts customarily consumed; they are
defined for 135 product categories (i.e., breads,
crackers, puffed cereals, high fiber cereals). These Reference
Amounts do not necessarily correlate with serving sizes
for food groups. Serving sizes for food groups vary
depending upon which food group system you use: diet
exchanges, Child Nutrition program information, USDA's
MyPyramid information for a 2,000 calorie diet,
or the NLEA serving sizes.
At Your Service
founded in 1993, provides nutrition analysis, food labeling
and regulatory support to ensure 100% compliance with FDA
regulations. With well over 1,000 clients worldwide, we’re
pleased to provide
information to address your
food labeling needs.
We value our relationships and
are working to stay connected. To build your network, we
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there, join the
Food Label Community.
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