Magazine article FDA Consumer

Consumers Advise FDA at Hearings

Magazine article FDA Consumer

Consumers Advise FDA at Hearings

Article excerpt

Consumers Advise FDA at Hearings

Support for FDA to define descriptive words on food packages such as "lite," "reduced," "low," and "high" was a recurrent theme expressed by participants at the agency's food labeling hearings last fall. Many speakers called for more regulation in this area, saying that the current descriptive words are at best confusing and at worst misleading.

Consumers, health professionals, and industry representatives presented these and other recommendations at hearings held by FDA in Chicago, San Antonio, Seattle, and Atlanta. Former Commissioner Frank E. Young, M.D., Ph.D., chaired the meetings, designed to present a forum for the public to air views on health messages, ingredient and nutrition labeling, standards of identity, food descriptors, and various formats for labels.

The series of hearings began Oct. 16 in Chicago, where speakers focused on the general issue of nutrition label content. Participants generally agreed that nutrition labeling should be mandatory and that the content of nutrition labeling should be modified to include cholesterol and fat content, with fats broken down into saturated and unsaturated (or monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Consumers stressed the need for serving sizes to be more uniform and suggested using common household measures, such as a cup or tablespoon.

At a hearing held in San Antonio on Nov. 1, consumers and industry representatives discussed their differing views on "and/or" labeling for fats; for example, a label for a food containing vegetable oil might include the listing: vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: cottonseed, soybean, peanut, corn, partially hydrogenated soybean, or partially hydrogenated cottonseed). …

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