Labeling framework sought

The Grocery Manufacturers of America and National Food Processors Assn. submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration applauding the agency’s initiative in accommodating qualified health claims on food labels and urging flexibility in both health claims and dietary-guidance statements.

Both organizations called for a clear framework that differentiates between health claims and dietary-guidance statements. NFPA said the “ideal” framework would

• permit an applicant to seek only a qualified health claim, rather than petition for a “significant scientific agreement” health claim,

• permit a “significant scientific agreement” health claim to be pursued concurrently,

• allow for evaluation under a “weight of the evidence” standard, which is then reflected in the wording of the claim,

• omit any reference to a letter grade or other graphic scheme on labels or in labeling to denote the degree of scientific support for the claim,

• provide standard claim phraseology, as a safe harbor for expressing claims on labels and in labeling, and allow for optional alternate claim language,

• provide for a short period of public review of the proposed claim, and

• conclude with an exchange of correspondence between the applicant and FDA that is made public and conducted in an expedited period of time.

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