The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it has started a public process to update the criteria for making a “healthy” nutrient content claim in food labeling. To initiate that process, FDA issued a request for information, with comments due January 26, 2017.  FDA also announced that while the rulemaking process is ongoing, the agency will exercise enforcement discretion to allow healthy” claims on foods that:

(1) are not low in fat, but the amounts of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats constitute the majority of the fat content and the mono- and poly-unsaturated fat content is declared on the label; or
(2) do not contain at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, or dietary fiber, but do contain at least 10 percent of the DV per RACC of potassium or vitamin D, and whichever nutrient is being used as the basis for eligibility is declared in the label.

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Photo of Steve Steinborn Steve Steinborn

Partner, Washington, DC

Steven Steinborn literally wrote the book on food labeling as a principal author of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) labeling guide. On top of that, he offers clients 28 years of experience in guiding informed business decisions, taking into account food laws and other regulations, as well as the environment in which companies operate. Representing food processors, restaurant chains, foodservice operators, ingredient suppliers, and trade associations, Steven focuses on advertising, labeling, and food safety. He is also a strong advocate in enforcement matters brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the USDA, and state regulators as well.

From small start-ups to established international brands, Steven understands the dynamics of the food industry. He brings this knowledge to bear on cutting-edge issues ranging from claim substantiation to potential food safety situations. He is also regularly consulted in bringing and defending competitor challenges, and represents companies before the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division. Keenly aware of the current litigation climate, Steven works closely with marketers in exploring all avenues to reach important business objectives.

Beyond the food industry, Steven routinely advises consumer product companies on reporting and potential recall situations arising under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. His practice covers a diverse range of industries, including children’s toys, household appliances, infant products, gas grills, furnaces, consumer electronics, computers, printers, handheld devices, and child-resistant packaging.

Steven is a frequent speaker on innovation and legal compliance and has authored numerous articles on a range of subjects, from the latest developments in the regulation of genetically engineered foods to important developments that impact food advertising.

Photo of Veronica Colas Veronica Colas

Senior Associate, Washington, DC

Veronica Colas counsels clients on the regulations and policy issues affecting food companies from farm to table. She represents all segments of the food industry, including manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, and food service companies, as well as their trade associations.
Veronica provides clear advice and practical solutions for compliance with labeling, advertising, and safety regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A core part of Veronica’s practice is helping clients develop new products, label claims, advertising materials, and promotional campaigns, with a keen awareness of today’s litigation environment. She has a deep understanding of both current and forthcoming food labeling and production requirements, from nutrition and menu labeling, to the regulatory issues surrounding genetically engineered foods and organic food production.

Veronica also has significant experience in helping clients navigate regulatory enforcement challenges, such as Warning Letters, import detentions, and investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Congress, and state Attorneys General. She works closely with trade associations and food companies to craft comments and develop strategies in response to agency rulemaking and other public policy issues. She is a frequent speaker and contributor to industry publications.