Packaging

What are packages saying?

June 1, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The FDA warning letter was bad enough, but what really galled David Glasser was being lumped in with certain companies and singled out from others.

First Juice’s fruit and vegetable children’s drinks are designed to minimize taste preference for sweetness, but the label callout earned the firm an FDA rebuke. Source: First Juice Inc.




The founder of First Juice Inc., Randolph, NJ, was one of 18 recipients of FDA citations concerning labeling infractions. Five involved products high in fat in packages proclaiming “trans-fat free” or “light,” five were for nutrient claims for products targeting children under the age of two, and the rest involved unapproved nutrient or unauthorized health claims, or both. The warnings were coupled with an open letter to industry from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who is making food-label usefulness and scientific accuracy a priority.

Glasser’s transgression was an uncomfortable fit with the nutrient-claim warnings, some of which involved products listing a host of benefits, such as an immunity boost, cancer resistance and erectile-dysfunction cure, sometimes from a single product. First Juice’s labels include the text, “50% less sugar than the leading 100% …..juice.” While the claim is factual and sugar is not a nutrient, the FDA letter cited the prohibition against nutrient claims for products targeting small children.

“We didn’t appreciate being lumped in with products that twist the meaning of the regs and still claim they’re following them,” comments Glasser. More damaging is being singled out from two competitors who make similar claims and did not receive letters.

Front-of-package claims are emerging as a contentious issue. A self-regulation effort called the Smart Choice Program collapsed almost as soon as it debuted last year. Products that met the program’s dietary standards and did not exceed limits on fat, sodium and sugar could display the Smart Choice checkmark. Sugary cereals and fatty products such as mayonnaise bore the checkmark, prompting an investigation by Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general. Within 10 days of Blumenthal’s request for information from three major food company participants, Smart Choice was suspended.

Smart Choice prompted Commissioner Hamburg to promise an overhaul of label rules. She also expressed concern about “the number and variety of label claims that may not help consumers…and, indeed, may be false or misleading.”

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Kevin Higgins, Senior Editor

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png