FDA Revising Criteria for “Healthy” Food

Reflecting the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final guidance in late September to stipulate the approved use of the labeling claim “healthy” on packaged foods and to request industry comments regarding the use of the term. Industry comments should inform FDA’s efforts to redefine the term “healthy” in order to align with the new final rules for updating the Nutrition Facts Panel and serving size information for packaged foods. Continue Reading

A picture taken in the early 1980s shows me at age 3 eating dog treats out of my grandparents’ food pantry. I think back on that picture and recognize how things have changed in the last 30+ years when it comes to Food Safety, most recently for the Pet Food Industry. Environmental Monitoring or Product Testing Programs rarely existed back then, and the few that did exist lacked planning. If I had gotten sick from consuming contaminated pet food, my parents or doctors would never have assumed eating dog food/treats caused it. Continue Reading

With Halloween around the corner, don’t let the rapidly approaching deadline for menu labeling regulations scare you. You may not want to think about next May, but you must! Especially if you are in the restaurant or food service industries.

Beginning May 5th, 2017, all restaurants and food service providers with 20 or more establishments under the same name or that serve the same type of food are required to list calories on menus and menu boards. You may not think this is a big deal, but in addition to printed menus, consider the number of restaurants that offer online menus on their website, apps, and 3rd party websites such as GrubHub or Yelp. This project is a bit of a doozy! Continue Reading

In case you haven’t noticed, consumer demand for transparency in food production has been the at the center of the news in the past few months. Most recently, you may have been hearing a lot about the herbicide glyphosate due to its presence in a number of oat and honey products.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, glyphosate has been in use since 1974 and is now one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States. It kills weeds by destroying proteins essential to their growth.  Continue Reading

States Preparing to Implement Produce Safety Rule
A partnership between federal and state regulators is vital for the successful implementation of the produce safety programs mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). On September 9, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that 42 states will receive $21.8 million over a five-year period to facilitate the implementation of the produce safety rules. The participation of state regulators in the implementation of state produce safety programs is dependent upon federal funds, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). State and federal agencies will begin to coordinate efforts soon as certain produce safety requirements will take effect in January 2018 for large farms. Continue Reading

Dietary fiber has received a significant amount of attention recently as part of a series of updates made to nutrition facts labels rolled out by FDA earlier this spring. The agency’s new definition of dietary fiber is “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants,” and “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” The key here being ‘beneficial fiber’ as defined by FDA. Continue Reading

Back in 1984, as a very young scientist, I attended my first meeting of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), now AOAC INTERNATIONAL. Established over a century ago, the association is dedicated to ensuring analytical methods address the needs of stakeholders in several industries, including the food industry.

Through its work, AOAC helps companies state the nutritional value of products with added confidence while minimizing health risks associated with microbiological and chemical contaminants. AOAC INTERNATIONAL conducts Expert Review Panels, publishes Official Methods of Analysis, and sets standards for analytical performance for methods. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), AOAC is now addressing a broader scope of complex food safety issues than back in 1984. As a leader in the food safety industry, Mérieux NutriSciences scientists have been heavily involved in the association over the past three decades. Continue Reading

Proposition 65 Update – Aspartame, Vinyl Acetate, Nitrite
An upcoming meeting of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) will consider the carcinogenic risks of several food, pesticide and packaging chemicals, including aspartame. OEHHA, the agency responsible for maintaining the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, recently released hazard identification materials for several chemicals to facilitate public consultation. Under Proposition 65, products containing a listed chemical in excess of the regulatory threshold must display a warning label indicating the presence of a known carcinogen or toxin. Continue Reading