Friday, March 5, 2010
Consumer advocates and nutrition professionals are celebrating a victory this week in the form of a blast of warning letters sent out by the FDA to companies whose product labels violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Among those notified in the crackdown were such well-known and well-advertised brands as Gerber, Beech-Nut, Gorton's, Sunsweet, Nestlé, Pom, and Diamond. Companies were cited for a variety of violations including unauthorized health claims, unauthorized nutrient content claims, and the unauthorized use of certain terms and descriptors that have strict, regulatory definitions.
The FDA action comes on the heels of a major report on food labeling from CSPI and a prominent editorial on the same topic by nutrition expert Marion Nestle. For those who received the FDA letters as well as the industry as a whole, the letters serve as a warning shot, a notification that this FDA will not be the laissez-faire regulator of the last administration. Among those celebrating the letters, there is a hope that this will just be the first step of many toward what could be a complete revision of food labeling rules and enforcement.
Celebratory reporting from CSPI and Marion Nestle's blog; the FDA's press release; and articles from the Washington Post and the New York Times. No press release from the Grocery Manufacturers Association...