Understanding the shelf life of your product plays a critical role in protecting your brand, but the way a food’s “best by” date is determined depends highly on the attributes of your individual product. When a food manufacturer contacts me about running a shelf life study, I typically ask a series of questions to help determine which methods are the most relevant – what is the pH and water activity? How is the product processed and packaged? Is it stored ambient, refrigerated or frozen? If you don’t have answers yet, don’t sweat it! We can walk you through what we need to know.

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It’s no secret that Americans are incorporating more plant-based foods into their diet. When you’re grocery shopping, you may notice new plant-based alternatives filling the shelves next to many of the foods or beverages you have commonly purchased over the years. A Nielsen Homescan survey last year found that 39% of Americans are actively trying to eat more plant-based foods while the number of vegans in the U.S. is also growing. Additionally, Mintel found that U.S. consumers are actually choosing plant-based proteins primarily because of taste. Continue Reading

In a previous blog post, we detailed the regulation for the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and bioengineered (BE) foods under the new National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) in the United States. You may think that the terms of the law are black and white – if a GMO is present in your product, you need to declare its presence on your food label under new regulations. However, as with most things in life, there is a distinct grey area. To uncomplicate the regulations, we put together a guide to understanding the GMO labeling guidelines and the exemptions that may apply to your products. Continue Reading

The potential risk of unsafe chemicals in foods has generated significant attention on social media in recent years due to growing consumer demands for “clean food” and food safety. Within the United States, the infamous Proposition 65 law in California is responsible for the majority of warning labeling requirements for chemical contaminants, but there has been an upward trend in state legislative proposals related to the risk of certain chemicals in consumer products. In response to this trend, several major food industry associations have joined forces to support a new federal bill titled the Accurate Labels Act, which seeks to impose more stringent scientific criteria for warning labels related to chemicals. If the bill becomes law, it could supersede or undermine the various state labeling requirements for chemical contaminants if the state rules are not grounded in the “best available science.” Continue Reading

The summer season in the United States results in lots of time spent outdoors and on-the-go, with no shortage of snack foods in tow. However, unlike the snacks from past decades and all other prepared foods on the market, today’s products likely lack the artificial trans fats known as partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs have been a subject of controversy and confusion among consumers for the past several decades since their commercialization in the mid-twentieth century. Let’s briefly examine their sudden rise in the marketplace followed by their dramatic decline, resulting in the current regulatory ban on PHOs. Continue Reading

Over the last 30 years, the debate over bioengineered foods – specifically, the boom in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has grown from a quiet dialogue to a wide-spread, boisterous debate. Most recently, issues around disclosure and forthcoming U.S. regulations have taken center stage.

In order to leverage burgeoning new markets in what I call the “progressive food movement,” an increasing number of companies are accessorizing their food labels with new non-GMO claims. Now, a new federal law, called the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), will require food manufacturers to disclose the use of GMO ingredients in their products. Of course, the current draft of the regulations can be a bit confusing, often vague and have wide-ranging implications that vary from business to business. Continue Reading

In the United States, two different regulatory organizations oversee food labeling for different product types. The first post in our blog series broke down which food products fall under the labeling jurisdiction for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as how the above affects a product’s statement of identity. Now that we’ve established that base, we will delve deeper into the various differences between USDA and FDA food labeling, from the way nutrition claims are handled to safe handling instructions and everything in between. Below are six essential differences between food labeling guidelines for the two regulatory bodies:

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In a previous blog post, I explained that the new produce safety regulations released as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) do not address the cause of past foodborne illness outbreaks, leaving the produce industry in limbo. It also leaves consumers unprotected because they view most produce items as being “ready-to-eat” (RTE), meaning that they are able to be consumed without any additional washing or cooking. Regardless of where a farm or packing shed falls within the regulations, this perception by consumers raises significant concerns for public health, which then fall to the grower or packer to address. Continue Reading