HEALTH

FDA updates Nutrition Facts Panel

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. –  In the first major overhaul of the Nutrition Facts Panel since 1993, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday changes that will be made to the Panel over the next two to three years.

"The new Panel better reflects serving size, nutrients and ingredients that people should focus on, and it updates current percent of Daily Values," noted Lori Zanini, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "While fully understanding the Nutrition Fact Panel can be confusing, many grocery stores now have registered dietitian nutritionists on staff to help their customers understand how to read labels and select the right foods for their customers' healthy eating plans."

“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” stated Robert Califf, FDA commissioner. “The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices – one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.”

The new Nutrition Facts label will include the following:

  • An updated design to highlight “calories” and “servings,” two important elements in making informed food choices;
  • Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat;
  • Declaration of grams and a percent daily value for “added sugars” to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product. It is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10% of your total daily calories from added sugars. This is consistent with the scientific evidence supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans;
  • “Dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings. Examples include a pint of ice cream and a 3-ounce bag of chips. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time;
  • For packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20 ounce soda, the calories and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting;
  • Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D, consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV that manufacturers include on the label;
  • Declaration of Vitamin D and potassium that will include the actual gram amount, in addition to the %DV. These are nutrients that some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. The %DV for calcium and iron will continue to be required, along with the actual gram amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required because deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but these nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis;
  • “Calories from Fat” will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required;
  • An abbreviated footnote to better explain the %DV.

The FDA is also making minor changes to the Supplement Facts label found on dietary supplements to make it consistent with the Nutrition Facts label.

Most food manufacturers will be required to use the new label by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply with the new rules. The FDA plans to conduct outreach and education efforts on the new requirements.

The iconic Nutrition Facts label was introduced more than 20 years ago to help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices. In March 2014, the FDA proposed two rules to update the label, and in July 2015, issued a supplemental proposed rule. The Nutrition Facts label regulations apply to packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

 

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Bell Pharmaceuticals fires up Sirius XM campaign behind its Jet-Alert brand

BY Michael Johnsen
BELL PLAINE, Minn. — Bell Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday it is promoting its top brand, Jet-Alert, with an 8-month promotional campaign on Sirius XM radio. 
 
Online web advertising, national print advertising, social media campaigns and retailer support programs will round out the remainder of the marketing campaign, the company stated.  
 
Jet-Alert’s fast acting caffeine pills have been on store shelves since 1984 and are available in regular strength (100 mg) and double strength (200 mg) formulas.  
 
 
 

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NPA challenges Puerto Rico VMS fees

BY Michael Johnsen
WASHINGTON – The Natural Products Association on Wednesday announced a meeting with members of the House of Representatives to overturn an administrative order issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Department of Health that would raise prices for dietary supplement and natural products consumers and adds requirements for retailers/distributors inconsistent with federal law.  
 
NPA is seeking to attach the provision to the debt relief package for Puerto Rico, which Congress is considering.
 
“This rule is arbitrary, unnecessary and potentially damaging to consumers and economic growth in Puerto Rico," stated Dan Fabricant, CEO and executive director, NPA. "It will drive consumers to the internet for supplement purchases, which we know is a haven for counterfeiters and fly-by-night suppliers. It will raise prices on the island for vitamins and natural products, which hurts consumers and low income people the hardest. And it will hurt legitimate high-quality supplement providers and distributors here in the continental U.S., who will now have to pay a premium to deliver products to meet growing demand," Fabricant said. "But most of all, it is unnecessary because FDA and FTC have adequate tools to regulate the industry.” 
 
On Feb. 9, 2016, the Puerto Rican Secretary of Health issued Administrative Order No. 346 without any notice and comment period which includes a host of costly and onerous requirements, NPA noted. 
 
The Order imposed a regulatory scheme in Puerto Rico for all distributors of dietary Supplements in Puerto Rico. It requires a burdensome product-by-product registration per store requiring $25 fee for every variation of a supplement by size, color or SKU. In addition, all Manufacturers must likewise file an application and pay an additional $500 fee. Distributors must also register and pay an additional $100 fee.
 
NPA is encouraging members to visit its grassroots website and reach out to Congress and tell them to stop Puerto Rico from creating an arbitrary tax on the industry as the relief package is debated.
 
 
 

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