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Net weight check

Eleven food industry groups have asked FDA to speed issuance of a "uniform, science-based standard" for verifying the net weight and quantity of packaged goods.

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) established federal preemption and uniformity for some regulations, including net quantity of contents verification. Prior to NLEA, state and local governments had authority to set and enforce their own verification standards, occasionally making compliance difficult for manufacturers engaging in interstate commerce. FDA reportedly has been working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a proposed rule establishing methods for verifying net contents. In the meantime, states have continued their individual standards. FDA's current priorities lie more in deregulation than in proposing new rules, observed Claire Regan, director, scientific affairs for Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). That group wrote the agency to remind it that this is actually a case where more, not less, regulation is needed. An FDA spokesperson said the agency is developing a response to the request, but could give no time frame. "We're working on it," she told PW. One issue to be determined is whether the content verification should occur at the manufacturer or at the grocery store level. The National Food Processors Association, for one, favors at the manufacturer where, it believes, an adequate sample can be found. State and local authorities have preferred sampling products off grocery store shelves.

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