Food industry associations and consumer advocacy groups have influenced the development of many key U.S. food policies and regulations, but the impact of consumer lawsuits upon the regulatory process cannot be denied. Since 2008, the number of class action lawsuits filed against food and beverage companies has increased from approximately twenty to more than a hundred lawsuits annually in recent years. While some of the legal challenges could be dismissed as frivolous, several cases have fueled the evolution of significant labeling and safety regulatory initiatives that are now under consideration by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).    Continue Reading

Today, there seem to be more grocery store chains than ever before. However, despite the variety of options, if you explore any of them you will find a similar pattern – an expansive brand of products unique to that store, otherwise known as a Private Label Brand. In recent years, chain-style grocery stores have shifted their focus to increasing their brand recognition. In order to accomplish that, they need to deliver quality consumer packaged goods at a competitive price. The resulting “private label war” has been driving down the prices of store brand food products, thus creating more competition for well-known national brands. Continue Reading

If you’re manufacturing organic products, it’s vital to understand the labeling requirements and what claims you can make based on your products’ ingredients. For example, do you understand the difference between a food labeled as “organic” and one that’s “made with organic ingredients?” While these statements may seem interchangeable at first glance, the USDA organic labeling guidelines specifically define which claims you can and cannot use, based on the composition of your product.

The labeling of organic foods in the U.S. is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) according to the National Organic Program detailed in 7 CFR Part 205. This set of rules is separate from the overall Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food labeling regulations, outlined in 21 CFR Part 101, which apply to all food products. While these two sets of regulations differ in several aspects, both are applicable to organic packaged food products available in the U.S. Continue Reading

Would mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labels or a symbol to designate a food as ‘Healthy,’ help curb the incidence of diet-related chronic diseases? Academic and industry research has shown that nutrition information on the front of food packages is more commonly viewed by American adult consumers than the Nutrition Facts panel, which is placed on the side or back of a package. The increased viewing of nutrition information is associated with healthier dietary patterns. While several countries are advancing regulations for front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labeling schemes, the future of a mandatory FOP system in the U.S. remains uncertain. Continue Reading

People are beginning to focus more on the sources and nutritional content of the food they eat, and this trend is carrying over to what pets are eating, too. The U.S. continues to dominate the pet food market, with about 44% of global sales in 2017, but in Canada, sales are anticipated to have a 2.2% growth in constant value sales over the next five years. Pet food labeling is regulated in the United States by the FDA and local state laws, and in Canada by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Industry Canada. However, neither of these countries provide uniform and rigorous regulations to monitor pet food labeling despite the booming pet food industry. Continue Reading

An Ever-Expanding List

California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act, known more commonly as Proposition 65, is a law adopted by California voters in 1986. The goal of the new regulation was, to not only protect citizens from potential health hazards in water, but also protect them from exposure to any cancer-causing substances, in general. Since its enactment over three decades ago, the list of chemicals within the legislation has grown to include nearly 1,000 entries. The regulation requires businesses to publish a “clear and reasonable” warning prior to knowingly and intentionally exposing any consumer in California to a listed chemical. On food products, this warning must be placed somewhere on the food label. Keep in mind, Proposition 65 allows for a one-year grace period from the date a chemical is added to the list before a warning is required. Continue Reading

With the new Nutrition Labeling Regulation deadline quickly approaching, the addition of one small line is creating a lot of buzz – added sugars. When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the changes to the Nutrition Facts Label in 2016, they included a requirement for the label to display added sugars, both in grams per serving and the percent Daily Value (%DV). Manufacturers have since been working to update their product specifications with added sugar values, companies are working to calculate the amount of added sugar in their products and consequently, consumers are beginning to see these values appear on the labels of the foods they eat. Although this new information is meant to help inform, both food manufacturers and consumers alike are unclear as to what counts as an added sugar and how much of it should be consumed. Continue Reading

Whether you grew up taking a brightly colored Flintstones vitamin every day or depended on reminders from your parents to eat your vegetables, you learned the importance of getting your vitamins on a daily basis. With consumers increasingly demanding transparency in the nutritional content of the foods they choose, do you know which vitamins you need to list on your labels? If you are choosing to make a claim on your label regarding the vitamin content in your product, do you understand how that vitamin appeals to consumers? Continue Reading