November 16, 2016

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USDA regulated meat and poultry products may voluntarily use the new FDA Nutrition Label Format   

Establishments May Voluntarily Use FDA’s Updated Nutrition Facts Label Format on Meat and Poultry ProductsFSIS announces that while the Agency is in the process of rulemaking to update the Nutrition Facts label format for meat and poultry products, establishments may voluntarily choose to use the Nutrition Facts label format that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized on May 27, 2016. FDA finalized the “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement facts labels,” (81 FR 33742) and “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably be Consumed atOne-Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints and Technical Amendments”(81 FR 34000).As long as the information on the labels is still truthful and not misleading, FSIS will not find noncompliance if companies use the FDA format. When FSIS publishes a final rule to update the Nutrition Facts label format for meat and poultry products, companies would have to comply with that final rule by the effective date and will no longer be able to use the FDA format if it is different from the FSIS format. FSIS has posted an advance copy of the notice at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/286ab693-1dc8-42ac-b295-1868b1b743a9/2016-0030.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.


Source: Constituent Update – November 10, 2016

November 7, 2016

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Generic no more: How private label products compete with national brands | Food Dive


Food Dive, provides a quick strengths/weaknesses comparison between branded and private label products.


Source: Generic no more: How private label products compete with national brands | Food Dive

November 3, 2016

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Prop 65 Prioritization 2016: Chemicals for Consultation by the Carcinogen Identification Committee

On Nov 15th, the Prop 65, committee will discuss the following chemicals for consideration:

 

  • Aspartame
  • Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Road Paving and Asphalt and Asphalt Emissions Associated with Roofing
  • Methyl Chloride
  • Type I Pyrethroids
  • Vinyl Acetate

Comments are available for public review on a 45-day public comment period on five chemicals or chemical groups to be discussed at the November 2016 meeting of the Proposition 65 Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC).


Source: Prioritization 2016: Chemicals for Consultation by the Carcinogen Identification Committee

October 13, 2016

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FTC & USDA roundtable on “Organic”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the agenda for their upcoming joint-agency roundtable on consumer perceptions of “organic” claims for non-agricultural products. The event, first announced in August, will be held in Washington, D.C., on October 20, 2016.

 

Source: FTC.gov  and Nie Magazine

 

August 26, 2016

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Printing food. 

If you thought printers were only for printing labels, then look again. You might just be able to eat your next print job…

This video, highlights two companies that are printing food.

3D printers are revolutionizing manufacturing and tech industries, but will they be the next big thing in food? Zagat visits two companies working to bring customizable food printing to the masses.

Source: What’s On

August 1, 2016

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Is the Vermont GMO law, null and void?

 

On July 29th, the president signed into law “S. 764, which directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard”

The law  pre-empts Vermont’s GMO law that went into effect July 1st.  Specifically the bill says

Senate Bill 764

no State or political subdivision of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect…any requirement relating to the labeling or disclosure of whether a food is bioengineered”

The bill suggests that an electronic mark (i.e. think Smart Labels, and QR Codes) should be used to provide the consumer with GMO information.  Additionally if an electronic mark is to be used then the company cannot collect personal demographics information.

 

So yes, Vermont’s and every other state, agency – cannot require on package labeling; only the Feds will have that right. But given companies and grocery stores want to manage their brands, and require labeling, we can expect their to be legal challenges.

 

See also: Grocery Manufacturers Association Press Release

August 1, 2016

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Expected Soon – New Dietary Ingredient Guidance

Natural Products Insider, is reporting FDA Expected to Release NDI Guidance for Dietary Supplement Industry.  “Former Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, described the 2011 guidance as “awful” and contrary to the intent of lawmakers who drafted the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.” As Brandon Griffin, comments and Knowledge Bank agrees – “our hunch is that timing [for new guidance] will likely fall on dates where an industry gathering is happening”

July 11, 2016

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Name, Shame, & Blame.

 

Important update for the meat, poultry, dairy and egg industries.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that it will soon begin sharing location specific food safety data.

 

“The new datasets will begin to publish on Data.gov on a quarterly basis starting 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Initially, FSIS will share information on the processes used at each facility, giving more detail than is currently listed in the searchable establishment directory, as well as a code for each facility that will make it easier to sort and combine future datasets by facility. Additionally, FSIS will release results for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and Salmonella in ready-to-eat (RTE) products and processed egg products.

On a quarterly basis, FSIS will then begin to share other datasets, including results for Shiga Toxin-producing Escherichia coli(STEC) and Salmonella in raw, non-intact beef products; results for Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and young turkeys, comminuted poultry, and chicken parts; routine chemical residue testing data in meat and poultry products; and advanced meat recovery testing data.”

See: Full UDSA FSIS press release.

May 26, 2016

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Sugar by any other name is sugar.

320px-Sugar_cubes

Evaporated cane juice, is a popular ingredient in the clean label and natural foods movements. But as yesterday’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance points out (and rightfully so) sugar by any other name is still sugar.

This issue has been building for a long time; in 2009 the FDA issued a recommendation, but clearly that wasn’t enough because NPR was still reporting on evaporated cane juice in 2012.

It’s now 2016, What do you think?

Food and Drug Administration Guidance

The FDA’s view is that the term “evaporated cane juice” is false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is fruit or vegetable juice or is made from fruit or vegetable juice, and does not reveal that the ingredient’s basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar.

Should evaporated cane juice be considered sugar or is it juice?

Hopefully you did not have a Las Vegas wager on this ingredient naming.   FDA’s guidance is their approach to making rules. Your food—or supplement–labels should adhere to the rules or you risk FDA action or worse, a lawsuit.  The FDA has said juice is misleading and the result of evaporation is basically crystalline sugar….not something you pour into a glass as a beverage

 

 

 

image http://hermann-uwe.de/photoblog/sugar

May 23, 2016

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New Dietary Supplement Fees

PR_flag_islandRecently, the Natural Products Association called for the repeal of fees on the dietary supplement industry.

With Puerto Rico’s financial crisis looming,  on Feb 9, 2016, the Puerto Rico Secretary of Health unilaterally imposed fees:

 

  • Every supplement including variations by size, must pay a $25 fee.
  • Manufacturers must file an application and pay an additional $500 fee.

  • Wholesale and retail distributors must also register and pay an additional $100 fee.

  • Facilities are subject to inspection and must pay a $50 fee.

 

This ruling does not impact United States based companies.  But the Food and Drug Administration )FDA) requires all US based food and supplement manufacturers to register with the FDA for food safety reasons. Fortunately there are no fees for such registration, just the time to do so.

 

Image source: By Mistman123 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons