Health claims labeling

FDA issued an advance notice of proposed rule making on how it will regulate qualified health claims. FDA solicited comments on three options. One would codify the current interim procedures and the ranking system based on the amount of scientific evidence.

The second would require each qualified health claim to undergo a traditional notice-and-comment rule making. The third option would treat qualified health claims as wholly outside the current labeling law and regulate them on a postmarket basis. FDA noted that the first option would allow health claims to appear in a more timely basis than the second option. Action against a misbranded product could only be taken after it hit store shelves under the third option. FDA also is seeking comments on the appropriateness and nature of dietary guidance statements on both foods and dietary supplements.

NFPA noted it had filed a petition with FDA in 1994 asking for greater flexibility in making health claims on food labels. It promised to provide “extensive comments” on the issue. Comments were to be filed by January 26, 2004.

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