The four original co-sponsors of the Food Labeling Modernization Act (FSMA) yesterday filed comments with the FDA urging the agency to finalize a new rule clarifying the use of “natural" on food labeling. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) called for robust requirements for using the term “natural" on food labels, which would help reduce misconceptions commonly held by confused consumers.
“We believe that nutrition information, ingredient lists, and health-related claims on food labels play an important role in the battle against obesity and diet-related disease," they wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf. “We are optimistic that, by considering our recommendations and finalizing robust requirements for the use of the term “natural," the FDA will continue to help consumers develop a greater understanding of the foods they are purchasing."
FSMA approaches food labeling reform in a comprehensive manner, addressing front-of-package labeling, misleading health claims, and requiring updates to the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredient list. (See the FSMA: Implementation is upon Us Infographic). FDA has proposed updating the Nutrition Facts label to require information about ‘added sugars,’ updated serving size requirements, and make calorie and serving size information more prominent.
Major food labeling provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act have not been updated since 1990 and in some cases have not been changed since 1938. As a result, current food labels do not provide the information that today’s consumer needs to evaluate and compare products in order to make healthy choices.
Click here to read the full text of the letter.