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Important News and Developments

The Food Consulting Company Leads the Way in Producing "Nutrition Facts" with FDA-Compliant Trans Fat Values

Del Mar, CA (August 27, 2003) -- The Food Consulting Company, specializing in the preparation of regulation-compliant food label components for the food industry, is ready to create Nutrition Facts panels for food labels based on the July, 2003, FDA Final Rule for trans fat labeling. The immediate availability of this service means that companies can pass products through the hurdles of the rule and be in compliance well before the mandatory compliance date of January 1, 2006.

The trans fat rule is the first significant change to the Nutrition Facts panel since the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) became law in 1993. Consequent to the rule, the Nutrition Facts panel for nearly all FDA-regulated foods must be revised to include the trans fat content along with the 14 other previously-required mandatory nutrients. Even products that contain no fat or no trans fat will be required to list the absence of trans fat on the label.

Determining trans fat content in foods “is not a piece of cake,” according to Karen Duester, registered dietitian and president of The Food Consulting Company. “FDA has just now defined trans fatty acids and established the methods for analyzing them. It takes a good understanding of the chemical make-up of fats and knowledge of how the previously-reported data was obtained in order to be able to determine the trans fatty acid composition of a product,” Duester explained.

In some cases, labels will have to wait when the data for the trans fat value is to be derived by database because ingredient suppliers have not been able, until now with the FDA definitions, to have their own “fat” ingredients analyzed.

“The distant compliance date might imply plenty of time, but savvy labelers will want accurate trans fat values and updated Nutrition Facts panels as soon as possible so that the new panels will be ready to be incorporated into new label plates and print runs when current label inventories expire, or when labels are updated to reflect formulation changes or label design changes -- all in order to gain economic savings,” Duester said.

The Food Consulting Company, based in Del Mar, CA, is the largest out-source provider assisting food companies in meeting FDA and USDA labeling requirements. The company offers a full range of food labeling services including product analysis (both database and laboratory), nutrition facts panels, ingredient statements, full label compliance packages, shelf life evaluations, final label reviews, and INTOUCH, a free monthly email newsletter that keeps food companies informed on government action affecting food labels. Duester can be reached through the company web site at www.foodlabels.com, or by calling 800-793-2844.