More time for testing

FDA has asked the Office of Management and Budget to extend its approval of consumer surveys used by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) in deciding labeling policies for food and dietary supplements.

Determining how consumers are likely to interpret claims, disclaimers, warnings, caution statements, and notices on labels is critical in decision making, FDA said.

The agency often tests actual or proposed labeling in realistic situations with typical consumers to see what is actually being communicated. It uses various types of surveys, including telephone, mail, shopping mall intercept, and the Internet, and strives for a representative sample reflective of the overall population or a relevant population group where appropriate. Those surveyed provide background information and respond to package labels that contain variations of the label statements to be tested. In testing comprehension and acceptance of various labels, CFSAN measures both what consumers say and do. The information is then used in evaluating regulatory and policy options.

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