Food industry pushes for full benefits of health claims
to introduce a clear framework on qualified health claims to ensure
that food makers making claims properly benefit from the system.
The trade association wants the agency to remove any reference to a letter grade or other graphic scheme on labels that illustrates the degree of scientific support for claims.
FDA had proposed that qualified health claims could fall under a system graded A-D, depending on how much evidence supported the claim.
Instead an evaluation of the 'weight of the evidence' should be reflected in the wording of the claim, says the NFPA.
The food processors also want standard claim phraseology, as a safe harbor for expressing claims on labels but also providing alternative options.
In addition, companies looking for a 'significant scientific agreement' health claim should be able to do so at the same time as another firm submits a health claim petition on the same subject. But the agency should restrict those seeking a qualified health claim to this process only rather than preventing those looking for a 'significant scientific agreement' health claim from seeking a qualified claim too.
The proposed claims should be available for public review in the Federal Register, with publication of the result of the application, continued the association's comments.
"NFPA further believes that dietary guidance statements should be differentiated clearly from health claims, so that food companies may have a thorough understanding of what types of statements may require prior consideration by FDA," said Regina Hildwine, NFPA's senior director of Food Labeling and Standards.
"A clear yet flexible framework should be developed to address these types of statements, so that companies may explore the food label communications opportunities offered by such statements in clarity and with confidence," addedNFPA president and CEO John Cady.