Beverages vs Supplements
OK, so nothing really happened here, but it’s still an important area, and 2014 promises to provide clarity on the issue.
A spokesperson for the FDA said that the Agency is preparing to finalize guidance clarifying the often hazy dividing line between liquid supplements and conventional beverages and foods “within the coming few months”.
Draft guidance on this issue was first released in December 2009, and partly reflected concerns about the growing number of functional/energy drinks containing caffeine and other active ingredients that were classified as supplements but looked like soda, which consumers often guzzle in large quantities without scrutinizing labels for advice on serving sizes.
Steven Shapiro, partner at New York City-based law firm Shapiro & Ullman, LLP, told us that FDA has used its 2009 draft guidance to announce that a product's physical form and packaging, together with the volume of liquid consumed will be determinative factors in whether it will be regulated as a supplement or a conventional food or beverage. Historically, it has always maintained that a supplement can physically resemble a conventional food so long as it is not called a 'drink' or cookie' for example
If the finalized guidance mirrors the 2009 draft, and the FDA aggressively enforce it, scores of products currently marketed as supplements might have to be repositioned as foods or beverages, predicted Shapiro.