Posts Tagged ‘food labelling’

FDA: to Redefine «Healthy» Claim for Food Labelling

October 8th, 2016
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has started a public process to redefine the «healthy» nutrient content claim for food labelling. Redefining «healthy» is part of an overall plan to provide consumers with information and tools to enable them to easily and quickly make food choices consistent with public health recommendations and to encourage the development of healthier foods by the industry.

While FDA is considering how to redefine the term «healthy» as a nutrient content claim, food manufacturers can continue to use the term «healthy» on foods that meet the current regulatory definition. FDA is also issuing a guidance document stating that FDA does not intend to enforce the regulatory requirements for products that use the term if certain criteria described in the guidance document are met.

Public health recommendations for various nutrients have evolved, as reflected by the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the updated Nutrition Facts label. For example, healthy dietary patterns now focus on food groups, the type of fat rather than the total amount of fat consumed and now address added sugars in the diet. Also, the nutrients of public health concern that consumers aren’t getting enough of have changed. FDA is publishing a «request for information» to solicit public input as it redefines the term «healthy». In addition, the Agency is planning other public forums to receive additional public input.

Source: bakenet:eu


Food Safety ,

GMO: will consumers use QR codes?

August 15th, 2016
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Four in 10 Americans say that it is either somewhat or very likely that they would use their mobile phones or in-store scanners to learn whether a product contained GM ingredients, according to a new Annenberg Science Knowledge (ASK) survey.

A new US law allows food producers to use digital codes to inform consumers that food contains genetically modified (GM) ingredients. But, asked the Annenberg Public Policy Center: will consumers use smartphones or in-store readers to scan those Quick Response (QR) codes?

Four in 10 Americans say that it is either somewhat or very likely that they would use their mobile phones or in-store scanners to learn whether a product contained GM ingredients, according to a new Annenberg Science Knowledge (ASK) survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University.

But 21% say that it is not too likely that they would do so and 38% say that it is not likely at all, the survey found.GM foods have been on the market in the United States for 20 years, the centre notes, but the legislation approved by Congress on July 14 requires, for the first time, that food products in the United States containing genetically modified ingredients carry identifying labels.

The bill calls for the use of on-package text, a symbol designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or an electronic or digital link such as a QR code, which when scanned or read by a smartphone or an in-store reader would connect consumers to a website with more information.“The question is whether consumers will use QR codes to find out whether food products on store shelves have GM ingredients,” said William K. Hallman, a 2016-2017 visiting scholar at APPC and professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers.

29% of Americans report that they have already used their mobile phones or a store scanner to scan UPC or QR codes to find the price of a product, or to check out at a store in the past 12 months, and 15% say they have used these codes to find information about a product’s ingredients or nutrition information during the same period, the survey found.Women and those who say they have scanned UPC or QR codes in the last year were more likely to say they would scan these codes to see if the product contains GM ingredients, Hallman said.

Nearly half of Americans say that they would be much less likely (31%) or somewhat less likely (18%) to purchase a food product if they learned that it contained genetically modified ingredients. About 4 in 10 (42%) say that it would make no difference in their intentions to buy that product, and 6% say that learning that a food product is genetically modified would make them more likely to purchase it.

Those who say they are less likely to purchase foods if they contain GM ingredients also say they are more likely to scan UPC or QR codes to find out if products contain those ingredients. “Because of this, it is likely that some food manufacturers will eliminate GM ingredients from their products,” Hallman said.In the ASK survey, a third of Americans (34%) said that they had eaten some or a great deal of genetically modified food in the past week, a third (34%) said they had consumed not much or none at all, and a third (32%) said that they did not know.

In fact, the USDA has said that in 2014, U.S. farmers planted genetically engineered (GE) crops in “over 90% of corn, soybean, cotton, canola, and sugar beet acreage,” producing ingredients common in processed foods.“Without mandatory labelling, consumers are unlikely to recognize that many of the food products they buy have genetically modified components,” Hallman said.

The survey found that 28% of respondents thought that the labelling of GM foods was already mandated by law while 54% were unsure whether such labelling is required. Only 18% knew that the labelling of genetically modified foods was not mandatory prior to passage of the new law.Informed that Congress had recently passed a bill that would require the labelling of genetically modified foods, the majority of Americans (81%) said they approve of the requirement.



Food Safety, Ingredients ,

Food colour update

April 16th, 2016
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europain_intersuc_2016_2Natural colour solutions can provide food and beverage manufacturers with a major edge over their competitors. By removing artificial and additive colours, manufacturers can meet the demands of 54% of consumers worldwide who want their food and drinks to be made with natural colour ingredients only. Alongside this, communicating their use clearly on the label is important as 67% of consumers say easy-to-understand ingredient information is essential. Claire Phoenix looks at how companies are tackling the challenges involved..

Credible front-of-pack claims give producers the potential to increase brand preference even when a price increase is applied. This is the result of a global consumer study which has been conducted by market research institute TNS and the GNT Group, the global provider of Colouring Foods. For the survey, 5,000 people from ten countries in Asia, the Americas and Europe were interviewed.

Choosing the right claim 

A crucial requirement for the success of a product is the right choice of claim: only those perceived as credible lead to a stronger purchase intention. Here, the effect of different claims that promote the use of all-natural solutions such as Colouring Foods has been examined in more detail: both the claims ‘with natural colours’ and ‘coloured with fruit and vegetables’ are perceived as credible by more than 75%. The claim ‘coloured with fruit and vegetables’ conveys positive product characteristics such as ‘is healthy’, ‘is safe’ or is ‘100% naturally produced’ to more than two thirds of consumers.

Which claim is preferable also depends on the product category. For food and beverages perceived as generally less natural, such as sweets or soft drinks, the claim ‘coloured with fruit and vegetables’ is most suitable to uplift brand preference because it provides a clearly distinguishing message for consumers. In food categories with a more natural image, like yogurt, the claim ‘free from artificial colourants’ is perceived equally well. “It is highly important for food manufacturers to understand the reaction of consumers to labelling, in order to choose the right claim for their products. With our survey, we can provide this information for different countries, consumer groups and product categories,” said GNT group managing director Dr Hendrik Hoeck.



Ingredients, Packaging ,

Food Safety Modernization Act

February 20th, 2016
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fda-fsma-logoAt the recent American Bakers Association (ABA) Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee (FTRAC) meeting in Washington DC several topics were presented that might be of interest to retail bakeries. Among these is the implementation by the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  FSMA will provide some bakeries with challenges that will need to be addressed.  In addition, changes in state law in Vermont
will affect wholesalers whose products will potential be sold there.

FSMA Issues

Food Facilities

Under FSMA some bakeries will need to register with the FDA as food facilities regardless of size.  The key is the percentage of wholesale sales of the business.  If the percentage of wholesale is greater than retail sales, that business most register with the FDA under FSMA as a food facility.  There are different deadlines for compliance based on whether it is a small business (less than 500 fulltime equivalent employees) or a very small business (less than $1 million in sales of human food).  Please look at the FDA website for further information.
Under FSMA, if your bakery or business imports food items for resale, if not already, you will need to register your business with the FDA and have a Food Safety Verification Plan (FSVP) for each product imported.  Under FSMA “an importer must, for each food that it imports, implement an FSVP for each foreign supplier before importing a food into the United States as necessary to provide assurance that hazards in food requiring a control are significantly minimized or prevented.”

The FSVP must include:

* a written hazard analysis;
* an evaluation of the risks posed by a food and the foreign
* supplier’s performance;
* supplier verification activities to allow the importer to
* approve the foreign supplier, and
* corrective action procedures.

Please look at the FDA website for further information and guidelines.

GE Product Labeling in Vermont

This new law applies to any food containing Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredients sold in Vermont after July of this year.  While this may not apply to many RBA members, it doesn’t involve any product sold over the internet, it is something to be aware of.  It applies to any product that contains any more than .9% GE material.  These products need to be labelled as such.  The law is much more complicated than what is laid out in this paragraph and the penalties can be onerous.  If you are involved in wholesaling and your products are shipped across state lines, potentially you are subject to the Vermont law.  Please check with your distributor regarding compliance the Vermont law.

ABA’s FTRAC meets in person three times annually. It conducts conference calls and with ABA staff has subcommittees work on topics that impact the baking industry.  In conjunction with ABA staff it issues reports and bulletins as issues develop that impact the industry.  RBA has been a member of the committee since 2014 and provides a voice for the retail bakery industry at these meetings.  It also gains valuable insights into the issue and problems facing the baking industry through our participation.

Dennis Stanton
RBA Board of Directors
Swedish Bakery

Bakery, Food Safety , ,

US Agriculture Committee Urges Congress to Pass GMO Labeling Standard

October 24th, 2015
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This week, the US Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on agricultural biotechnology highlighted the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the safety of foods developed from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the tremendous urgency for Congress to pass a national, uniform labeling standard this year.

“The Senate Agriculture hearing reaffirmed the broad consensus among scientists and regulators that GMOs are safe and highlighted the real world negative impacts a patchwork of state labeling mandates will have on farmers, businesses and consumers,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Action by Congress is urgently needed this year to pass a national, uniform labeling standard.”

“We wish to thank Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) for holding today’s hearing on a topic so vitally important to consumers and our country’s entire food supply chain,” said Bailey. “We also were pleased to hear Senator Stabenow’s personal commitment to work to develop a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate by the end of this year, and GMA looks forward to working with her and Senator Roberts to get a bill adopted and signed into law.”

This Senate hearing follows July passage by the House of Representatives of a bipartisan bill creating a national labeling standard and a GMO-free certification program that will provide those consumers who wish to purchase products that do not contain GMOs with a reliable means of doing so.

Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law goes into effect July 1, further underscoring the need for quick action as companies are considering costly changes to comply with the state law.

“While we continue our efforts in federal court to challenge Vermont’s state labeling law, the court process could take years until full resolution, and will certainly not be concluded prior to the implementation of the Vermont law in just over eight months.  That leaves only Congress with the authority to prevent this law and others like it from enactment,” continued Bailey. “It is critically important that Congress act this year to prevent a costly and confusing patchwork of state labeling laws from taking effect next year and spreading across the country.”



Packaging ,

Australia announces country of origin labeling for food products

July 25th, 2015
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The Australian government will enforce new country of origin food labeling system from 2016 to inform consumers where products are made, grown or packaged.

Under the new national standard, locally processed foods will carry a new label featuring green and gold kangaroo and triangle icon, with a bar chart that displays the amount of locally sourced ingredients used in the product.

The products imported into Australia and then re-packed will have a label mentioning where the item was imported from.

The new labels for locally processed foods will include statements such as “Made in Australia from 100% Australian ingredients”, “Packed in Australia, Made in Canada” and “Made in Australia from Australian carrots and French peas.”

Food companies may also include additional information on the labels. The labels may also include digital features in the future.

While making the announcement, Abbott said: “This is a simple and straightforward initiative.

“Consumers will know what they are buying is Australian.

“This is something the Australian public have wanted for a long time.”

According to the figures released by the government’s food labelling community survey, over 17,800 respondents voted for the green and gold triangle design.

The government will continue to work with the states and territories, whose agreement is required to roll out the new labels.

Though Abbott hopes companies would be encouraged to identify the origin of key ingredients with the new rule, it is expected to cost the businesses $37m a year. Consumers could also need to shell out 1c more for every $5 they spend.




WTO rejects US appeal over country-of-origin labeling

May 30th, 2015
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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has rejected appeal from the US regarding the country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat dispute between the US, Canada and Mexico.

WTO said that labels carrying information about where meat is raised discriminate against livestock from Canada and Mexico.

It said that the US must revise or repeal the COOL law in order to avoid retaliatory tariffs that are likely to be imposed on the US by Canada and Mexico.

The COOL Reform Coalition, however, said that the US industries will have a risk of losing billions of dollars if retaliation of the law is allowed.

Signed into American law in 2002, COOL requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets, and club warehouse stores to notify their customers about information regarding the source of certain foods.

The food to be labeled under the law include muscle cut and ground meats: beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.

Agricultural Marketing Service, an agency within the US Department of Agriculture, is responsible for administration and enforcement of COOL.

Both Canada and Mexico have filed challenges with the WTO saying that the COOL law is discriminatory and can reduce the value of their livestock in the US.




UK labelling regulations

August 29th, 2014
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labellingWith just over four months to go until the main elements of the Food Information to Consumers EU 1169/2011 Regulation (FIC) are due to come into effect in the UK, analysis of the industry’s journey toward compliance has revealed that larger brands are showing more visible progress than smaller brands. In the second in a series of quarterly reports, GS1 UK commissioned a snapshot of progress by analysing a basket of 20 products including confectionery and flour based products. It was also apparent that confusion remains over what is required by some parts of the regulation. The following trends were noted from the research:

  • Two tiers of readiness are emerging – generally speaking larger brands have made considerable progress toward compliance. This is perhaps to be expected as large companies have more resources to assign to FIC, but also more product lines so may have to start earlier. This is in contrast to smaller brands (including imported products) where progress is not so visible; however, this is not to say work is not currently underway by smaller brands, just that it has not yet been completed.
  • Nutrition information labelling exemptions are causing confusion – FIC makes nutrition information mandatory on food labels; previously this was only the case if a nutrition claim was made in the product marketing. Some aspects, such as the reordering of nutrients in the mandatory nutrition panel, appear to be fairly well known, but there are a number of exceptions where nutrition is not legally required by the FIC at all and these seem to be less well understood. Nutrition is not a mandatory requirement on unprocessed meat or produce (such as a box of fruit) for example, and if a product label is under a certain size exemptions may apply.
  • There has been a shift to presenting ingredients as a single list – it was notable that the inclusion of compound ingredient declarations beneath the main ingredient lists, a style that was becoming the standard, was not in evidence. This might be a possible effect of the increased font size for mandatory information meaning space on a label is at a premium. This represents a more space-efficient way of presenting such information, and can reduce the space required by up to 50 per cent on more complicated products.
  • Declaring voluntary information requires careful thought – there is a clear distinction in FIC between ‘back of pack’ nutrition (the mandatory information) and that repeated on the ‘front of pack’, which is voluntary. Some still wish to display nutritional information on the front of pack for marketing purposes, but the placement is important as it has to appear in what is referred to as the ‘principal field of vision’ – the part of the pack most likely to be seen at first glance by a consumer at the time of purchase. How a particular product is stacked on a shelf may impact the principal field of vision so voluntarily repeating nutrition information requires careful thought.

FIC also places an obligation on retailers to provide all the mandatory label information (excluding expiry dates) to potential customers through distance selling channels, such as websites. This means that brand owners need to present the label data and associated images in a format that retailers can easily integrate into the systems that populate their websites. At present we are seeing this process happening too slowly, and have concerns of a backlog emerging that may lead to businesses having to join lengthy processing queues and facing delays in making updated products available through the associated digital channels.

Gary Lynch, CEO of GS1 UK says: “There were encouraging signs from this survey, which revealed some general improvements on the findings from the last one undertaken in April. However, the larger brands have made far more visible progress than the smaller brands and we are concerned about possible bottlenecks at the printers toward the end of the year. We recommend all suppliers of food and drink products make FIC compliance across all channels a priority or they risk not being able to sell their products legally after 13 December.”

Source: Confectionery Production


Confectionery, Packaging

Most consumers support FDA policy on GMO foods

May 30th, 2014
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gmoWhile activist groups have incited fear over genetically modified food and feed ingredients, and pressed for government mandates for labeling such products, most consumers continue to support current FDA labeling policy, according to a new report from the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

Current FDA policy on labeling for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) requires labeling only when biotechnology substantially changes the food’s nutritional content or composition, or when a potential safety issue such as a food allergen is identified.

According to results of the IFIC Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology Survey, 74 percent of consumers could not think of any additional information that they would like added to food labels, while 8 percent wanted additional nutritional information, 5 percent wanted more ingredient information and 4 percent wanted information about biotechnology or related terms.

Sixty-three percent of consumers indicate support the FDA’s current labeling policy for foods produced using biotechnology, although there was a slight increase in consumers indicating opposition to the policy, at 19 percent, compared to 14 percent in 2012.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Seventy-one percent of Americans indicate having some awareness of plant biotechnology, 28 percent are favorable toward plant biotechnology and 28 percent view the technology unfavorably – up from 20 percent in 2012. Forty-three percent of consumers are neutral or say they don’t know enough to form an opinion.
  • Among Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, 38 percent view the technology favorably compared with 2 percent of consumers aged 35 to 54 and 25 percent among those 55 and older.
  • Seventy-two percent of consumers indicate they would be likely to purchase food products modified by biotechnology to provide more healthful fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, while 69 percent say they would be likely to purchase foods improved with biotechnology to reduce the potential for carcinogens or to protect crops from insect damage and require fewer pesticide applications. Sixty-seven percent say they would likely purchase foods modified to enhance nutritional benefits or eliminate trans-fat content.
  • Seventy-four percent of consumers agree that modern agriculture can be sustainable, produce high-quality foods (72 percent), and produce nutritious foods (71 percent)., and 68 percent agree that modern agriculture produces safe foods.
  • Just 26 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for foods that fit their perception of sustainability, down from 33 percent in 2012, although that number increases to 43 percent among Millennials.

Source: Cattle Network


Food Safety, Ingredients ,

Do Mexico’s new food labelling rules encourage sugar consumption ?

May 1st, 2014
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sugarMexico’s new food labeling rules were supposed to help fight an obesity epidemic, but activists and experts said Monday they may actually encourage the public to consume high levels of sugar.

The debate over sugar has grown bitter, in a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the Western Hemisphere.

The new label rules unveiled last week list the amount of sugar and other contents as a per cent of recommended daily intakes. The new labels will no longer list the weights of the ingredients, instead simply listing them as calories and percentages of recommended daily intake.

But the labels assume that an average acceptable daily consumption of sugar is about 360 calories, equivalent to about 90 grams of sugar.

The World Health Organization has proposed a sugar intake of as little as 100 calories or about 25 grams per day.

Almost three dozen public health and nutrition experts published a full-page ad in Mexican newspapers Monday saying the new rules “increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.”

It said the labeling system “is difficult to understand and represents a serious risk to the health of Mexicans,” according to the ad.

The government health agency responsible for publishing the new rules last week did not immediately answer calls for comment.

“This is terrible, because some people are going to see this label … and they’re going to say, ‘well, I’ll drink this Coca Cola, because it is 70 per cent of my sugar requirement, and I can drink another 6 1/2-ounce one, to get 100 per cent of what they recommend I get of sugar,”‘ said Alejandro Calvillo, head of the Consumer Power activist group.

Calvillo said the decision to stop listing the weight of sugar in products was a mistake, in part because his group had some success in educating the public that 90 grams of sugar are equal to about 6 tablespoons — about two-thirds of a cup.

Mexico is among the fattest countries in the world. Just under one-third of adults are obese, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Seven out of 10 Mexicans are overweight and the country has surpassed the U.S. in obesity rates, according to a United Nations report, mostly due to a diet of fatty foods and sugary sodas.

Last year, Mexico’s lawmakers approved a new tax on junk food as part of the government’s campaign to fight obesity. The move came a little over a day after legislators agreed to tax soft drinks. Mexicans drink an average of 163 litres of soft drinks annually, also among the highest soda consumption rates in the world.

Source: CTV News

Ingredients, Packaging , ,