Low Carb Claims Explained

March 1, 2004

1 Min Read
Low Carb Claims Explained

Low Carb Claims Explained

WASHINGTONIn conversations held between attorneys at Olsson, Frankand Weeda and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency reported itdoes not have a policy permitting the use of low carb on foods naturallylow in carbs or manufactured to be low in carbs. FDAs policy regulating carbclaims is essentially the same as the U.S. Department of Agricultures (USDA)Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) Statement of Interim Policy onCarbohydrate Labeling Statements (found at www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/larc/Policies/CarbLabel.htm).Under this statement, the following are permitted:

  • Statements that do not expressly state or imply a specific level of carbs (e.g., carb conscious, carb wise);

  • Terms such as low carb, provided they are used to describe a diet or lifestyle; and

  • Terms such as net carbs, effective carbs and net impact carbs, provided they are truthful and not misleading.

FDA still requires manufacturers to include all carbohydrates, includingsugars, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and preservatives, under totalcarbohydrates.

In 2003, FDA sent only two warning letters to companies that violated theseterms; however, they were for egregious claimsone was sent to a reducedcarb bread maker and another to a low carb candy bar company.

In related carb news, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) sent apetition Feb. 2 to FDA to establish new regulations for carbohydrate nutrientcontent claims. Clear and consistent labeling standards are an importantreference point for consumers reaching for the foods that will help them toachieve their dietary objectives, said Alison Kretser, RD, director ofnutrition and scientific policy at GMA.

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