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FDA Proposed Rules for Nutrients Raises Concerns

Written by Beth Vessels 25 March 2014
nutrition label showing vitamin D, Potasium highlightedOne of the proposals set forth by the FDA earlier this month is to revise the nutrients that must be declared on a nutrition label. While the evidence and reasoning might very well support this change, the food labeling industry is concerned that the addition of the new nutrients required for labeling may cause some difficulty for food manufacturers to comply within a timely manner using a database software analysis.
This change is one a few that are categorized under ‘changes based on new nutrition science.’ Under this particular proposal, vitamin D and potassium would become newly required nutrients, along with calcium and iron – which are already required nutrients. Vitamin A and vitamin C would no longer be required nutrients on the label.
The FDA supports their proposal by explaining:
Vitamin D is important for bone development and general health among some populations which are currently inadequate in this nutrient.

Likewise, potassium is known to lower blood pressure and some populations are inadequate in this nutrient, as well.

The FDA feels removing vitamin A and C is acceptable, because current data shows that there are no deficiencies of these nutrients in populations.

The problem isn’t necessarily in making these a required nutrient, the FDA certainly makes a compelling argument. There is, however, some concern in the industry regarding the timeline for implementation.

It is not likely that you would see vitamin D & potassium data in the database for most or all foods within the 6 months that the FDA is currently proposing the industry have to prepare for the changes.

A leading software provider for database analysis nutrition labeling told us last week that they experienced a similar situation when trans fat was added as a requirement back in January 2006. They believe it will take quite some time for the USDA, manufacturers and other sources to update their nutrient data to include vitamin D and potassium – even beyond the deadline.

 

What does this mean for food manufacturers?

It could be a bumpy road when the two year compliance allowance time begins. Food companies that want to go ahead and update to the new nutrition facts label, by the way of database analysis, may have to wait until the database has been updated to include their ingredients’ vitamin D and potassium levels – which could be beyond the deadline given by the FDA.

Another option, for those companies who can’t afford to wait, could be Lab Analysis. Food nutritional analysis is more expensive and has longer turn-around compared to database analysis; however, it can determine any new required nutrients and could be a speedier alternative for those companies who don’t want to wait.

The database software company assures us that maintenance of the database is on-going and that they will update the database as quickly as possible once the FDA has finalized their ruling.

We encourage our customers to check back with us for updates on these FDA proposed changes to the nutrition facts label and once the ruling is finalized contact us. We will look into whether or not your particular ingredients have indeed been updated to include vitamin D and potassium – if this has indeed been included in their final ruling.

We’ve recently commented on this topic and you can track it on this link. Just enter this tracking number in the search box: 1jy-8b1y-z06d

Have you commented yet on the FDA’s site regarding this proposal? You should! This is a very important decision time for what will probably result in a change to the current nutrition facts label – let the FDA know your input. Here is the link: http://www.regulations.gov

Tagged under food labeling FDA proposed changes nutrition label FDA Nutrition Label Changes FDA regulations food label nutrition facts labels FDA standards food labels nutrition labeling retail food labels

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