Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

Regulatory Round-Up: Industry Challenged by the FDA’s Sodium Reduction Targets

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

April 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM

sodium_blog.jpegDid you know federal health authorities have estimated 44% of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from only 10 types of food? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the diet of 90% of Americans exceeds the recommended dietary sodium level for optimal public health. The high sodium levels found in many processed foods have triggered calls for food companies to reduce the salt content of food products; however, eliminating this valuable additive from food products can be a complex process. 

Serious health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, have been associated with the excessive sodium content of the typical American diet. In fact, a few notable studies were published this year concerning dietary sodium and public health, including: an examination of the sodium content of commercially packaged foods in the United States (J Acad Nutr Diet, 2017 Feb 3); a study of sodium intake linked to specific types of foods (Appetite, 2017 Feb 1); and a study of the association of a suboptimal diet with mortality (JAMA, 2017 Mar 7).

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA, Nutrition, Health, Dietary Guidelines, Sodium

How Old are Those Nutrient Values Destined for Your Nutrition Label?

Posted by Sophie Plummer

April 4, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Nutrition Blog.jpgThe United States and Canada have both made significant changes to their nutrition labels in the past year. In response, food manufacturers are dusting off each product's Certificate of Analysis (COA) to create new nutrition labels in order to comply with updated regulations. But food manufacturers should consider how old their nutrient data is before using it to create a new label. Before sending those new labels to print, check to make sure your nutrient values are still usable.

Reasons why a product’s nutrient data could have changed:

  • Ingredient Changes: When an ingredient, ingredient component or the source of an ingredient has changed, it’s advisable to verify the nutrient content.
  • Ingredient Variations: If an ingredient composition changes due to season, storage or other factors, then it could affect your data.
  • Processing Variations: If there’s a change in how a product has been processed, it’s time for a refresh.
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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Nutrition, Analytical Testing, Lab Analysis, Database Calculation, Nutrition Facts Label

Regulatory Round-Up: What is a ‘Healthy’ Food? - FDA Reconsidering the Definition of ‘Healthy’

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

March 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM

healthy_reg_blog.jpegWhat is a “healthy” food? Should a “healthy” food contain specific levels of vitamins and minerals? Conversely, should a “healthy” food limit potentially harmful components such as saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar or sodium? Questions surrounding the definition of a “healthy” labeling claim have surged in recent years due to the rising consumer demand for nutritious foods. 

To address this labeling issue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened a meeting this month with industry stakeholders and consumer advocates. The meeting featured panel sessions, oral presentations and breakout sessions to facilitate a discussion regarding scientific data, consumer perceptions, and the current federal nutrition guidelines. Ultimately, the goal of the meeting was to reach a consensus supporting a revised definition and regulatory criteria for a “healthy” food labeling claim.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, Regulations, Health Claims, Label Claims, Food Label

Regulatory Round-Up: Food Labeling Changes From 2016 and Beyond

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

January 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM

regulatory_blog_1.9.jpegOn the regulatory front, 2016 presented many challenges for the North American food industry. While the year featured the initial implementation of FSMA regulations and passage of the GMO labeling law, the North American food industry was also confronted by a slew of regulatory changes related to food labeling. 

Last year, the food industry monitored the development of several potentially significant regulatory initiatives with upcoming compliance dates, including the revision of the FDA Nutrition Facts Panel (July 26, 2018), menu labeling for restaurants (May 5, 2017) and the withdrawal of the GRAS status of PHOs (June 18, 2018).

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Topics: FSIS, USDA, Nutritional Labeling, FDA, Nutrition, Nutrition Facts Label, Canada, CFIA, Nutrition Facts

New to the Nutrition Label: What Are Added Sugars?

Posted by Katie Schott

November 30, 2016 at 10:00 AM

added_sugar_blog.jpgHow sweet is it? Beginning July 26, 2018, the true nature of your products’ sugar content will be on display with the new mandatory Added Sugars line on the Nutrition Facts Label. But how do you know what is considered an added sugar? To answer that question, we need to delve into the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nutrition labeling requirements.

On July 26, 2016, the FDA released new nutrition labeling regulations, which includes an overhaul of the required Nutrition Facts Label. The new regulations go into effect in July 2018 for large food manufacturers, and July 2019 for food manufacturers with less that $10 million in annual food sales. One of the most notable differences on the new label is the Added Sugars line. This new addition will be located directly beneath the Total Sugars line, which will replace the Sugars line on the old label.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA, Nutrition Facts Label, Added Sugars

Regulatory Round-Up: Industry Seeks Harmonization of Nutrition Compliance Dates

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

November 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Industry Seeks Harmonization of FDA Nutrition Mandates 

regulatory_roundup_2.jpegResponding to food industry requests to harmonize the compliance dates of upcoming food labeling and nutrition initiatives, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently clarified that the compliance dates are already coordinated to take effect in summer 2018. 

Industry groups contend, however, that it will be difficult for manufacturers to comply with the revised nutrition labeling rules since the agency has not yet provided key pieces of the regulatory puzzle. 

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Topics: Food Safety, Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Nutrition

Regulatory Round-Up: New Criteria for "Healthy" Foods

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

October 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM

FDA Revising Criteria for “Healthy” Food

regulatory_round_up_blog.jpegReflecting 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.

The final guidance advised food manufacturers of the agency’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion regarding use of the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” relative to the latest recommendations. The guidance highlights acceptable uses for the labeling term relative to low fat, and beneficial nutrients such as potassium and vitamin D.

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Topics: Food Safety, Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Nutrition, Health Claims

Digesting the New FDA Dietary Fiber Definition

Posted by Nick Price

October 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

fiber_blog_photo.jpgDietary 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.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, Dietary Fiber, FDA

Nutrition & Menu Labeling: Understanding Database Calculation vs Analytical Testing

Posted by Camilla Sugiarta

September 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Regulations, Regulations
calories_in_breakfast_200px.jpegWith food and beverage labeling regulations being passed down by FDA, many retailers, manufacturers and restaurants have to rethink their labeling strategy to comply with these new rules. Some of these new and updated regulations include nutrition facts labeling regulations and menu labeling regulations. In order to comply with these requirements, nutritional analysis may need to be performed. These nutritional results could be used for nutrition facts labels for US and Canadian food and beverage packaging, or calorie and nutrition information for menu labeling. Manufacturers, retailers and restaurants alike must factor in how they will update their nutrition and menu labels when planning their compliance strategies.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Restaurant Menu Labeling, Menu Labeling, Nutrition, Analytical Testing, Database Calculation

PDCAAS - What's This All About?

Posted by Sneh Bhandari

July 8, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Co-authored by Nick Price

IND_DAI_white_milk-1.pngTake a look at nutritional labels from different foods and you will see %Daily Values for most of the nutrients, but rarely for protein. This is because the declared amount of protein in products needs to be adjusted for its ability to provide us with sufficient amino acids.

In general, the %DVs declared on nutritional labels can either involve simple math or be complicated. For example, a serving of fluid milk with 300 mg of calcium supplies 30% of its DV, while peanuts with 35 mg calcium provide 4% of its DV. Both use 1,000 mg/day as the Daily Value. For protein, you must also factor in how well it is used by our bodies. Fluid milk containing 8g protein in a serving supplies 16% of its DV; however, peanuts containing the same amount of protein in a serving supplies only 8% of its DV. PDCAAS is the way to measure the nutritional quality of a protein.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Nutrition, Protein, PDCAAS

Reports Raise Industry, Consumer Interests on Presence of Cellulose Levels in Grated Cheese Products

Posted by John Williams

March 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

magnifying glassA February 16th Bloomberg News investigation which revealed that a canister of grated cheese, purported to be 100% Parmesan Cheese, contained 8.8% cellulose has thrown more lighter fluid on an already incendiary industry topic, food fraud and traceability.

The article resulted in a firestorm of coverage in mainstream and social media, with quoted industry experts citing that 20% of domestically produced Parmesan cheese may be mislabeled, largely due to fillers like cellulose in grated products.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Traceability, Food Fraud, Parmesan cheese

How Will the FDA Nutrition Labeling Rules Impact Your Business?

Posted by Xochitl Javier

January 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Food SafetyMany of us are closely following with anticipation how the final rules for the FDA Nutrition Facts Panels will shape up. Speaking of final rules, FDA recently posted its annual regulatory agenda in which the agency provided insights on the status of various regulatory initiatives. As expected, the agenda affirms the agency's committment to completing rules related to food labeling. Without delays, FDA announced March 2016 as the date for final ruling. With the implementation of the ruling, over 700,000 food and beverage nutrition facts labels will need to meet new compliance standards. While many have debated the true economic impact -- with FDA estimating nearly $2.3 billion cost to industry -- there is no doubt that for many companies the process will be complex and time-consuming. In addition to relabeling, new package designs and packaging costs, there are additional considerations, such as new recordkeeping processes and very likely reformulations, for many companies. From greater label clarity for consumers to dire chronic health conditions in the American population, FDA has cited numerous reasons for the labeling changes.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, FDA

Making Sense of All These Food & Nutrition Labeling Initiatives

Posted by Xochitl Javier

December 11, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Nutritional LabelingMenus Are Being Affected
Effective earlier this month, New York City became the first city in the US to require chain restaurants to identify high-sodium items on their menus. The New York city health commissioner explained the initiative is health related-  too much sodium can lead to various chronic ailments. How this will impact chain restaurants and menu entrees will be interesting to watch unfold. 

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Menu Labeling

Upcoming Webinar Explores Impact of Proposed Nutrition Labeling Changes

Posted by Xochitl Javier

September 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Upcoming webinar explores impact of proposed nutrition labeling changes60,000 manufacturers affected. 700,000 package labels to revise. $2 Billion cost to industry. Those are the statistics associated with the proposals made by FDA to the Nutrition Facts Label. The nutrition facts labeling has been required on food packages for 20 years under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). In that time, the label has not changed significantly. The FDA has decided it is time for a change. 

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates

FDA Labeling Requirements: What's New on Restaurant Menus

Posted by Pamela Meijer

July 31, 2014 at 7:30 AM

restaurant_menu_labeling Restaurant Menu Labeling is a concept born from the need to educate consumers on their food choices.  It is reality that more than 1/3 of adults in the US are obese. Healthcare costs associated with obesity exceed $147 billion US dollars. Due to these and other critical factors, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23rd, 2010. At this point in 2014 we are fast approaching a final ruling on restaurant menu labeling. 

FDA will require the following under this ruling:

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Restaurant Menu Labeling

Gluten-Free Labeling Rule Set to Go Into Effect

Posted by John Williams

June 19, 2014 at 9:37 AM

FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

Food allergens, such as peanuts, fish, eggs, shellfish and wheat, have become familiar names among consumers. Over the past several years gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley and rye – has garnered much attention.

Almost three million people in the United States suffer from celiac disease, a genetic condition which affects the body’s ability to properly digest and metabolize gluten. Individuals with celiac disease are recommended to follow a gluten-free diet for life. Symptoms commonly associated with celiac disease include weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, acid reflux, general weakness and fatigue.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, Gluten Free

FDA Proposes New Nutritional Labeling Changes

Posted by John Williams

April 3, 2014 at 12:24 PM


While debate exists on how much consumers read nutritional information on products labels, the Food and Drug Administration recently put forward changes to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods.

The proposed label would reflect the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease, and would replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with how much people really eat. As proposed, the new label would feature a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling

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