FDA identifies food safety, labeling priorities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Nutrition

Determining the regulatory status of salt and developing methods to
detect low levels of trans fats in foods have been flagged up as
priorities by the US food regulatory agency in a report issued this
week.

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN) on Tuesday published its FY 2007 Report to Stakeholders, in which it identifies its priorities for 2007 and its accomplishments in 2006. According to the report, CFSAN will continue to focus on its "core functions"​ for the current fiscal year 2007 (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007). Program priorities include a strong emphasis on food safety, food defense, nutrition and labeling, dietary supplements and cosmetics. In terms of general food safety​, CFSAN expects to identify and inspect the 10 major importers bringing large quantities of high risk foods into the US. It will also study the effects of food consumption patterns on diseases such as diabetes and obesity, as well as invest in microbiological screening methods. The center expects to publish final guidance for lead levels in candy, and a draft updated pesticides compliance policy guide. Dairy products will also be a focus, with a complete revised draft of the agency's Pathogens in Dairy Products​ policy guide due to be released. In addition, a raw milk cheese Action Plan for high risk cheese products will be finalized in conjunction with ORA. A proposed rule to amend the standards of identity for yogurt will also be prepared. A complete egg safety rule is also planned, as well as updated chemistry guidance for indirect food additives. In addition, a public meeting will be held in order to examine issues concerning the regulatory status and labeling of salt. Food allergens are also on the agenda, with a Federal Register notice planned to solicit comments on the use of advisory labeling regarding food allergens. In addition, a proposed rule for gluten-free labeling will be published. Listeria, pandemic flu and produce safety are also priorities, with draft final guidance due to be published for fresh cut produce. In terms of food safety research, CFSAN said it will develop analytical methods for analysis of low levels of trans fatty acids in foods. It will also develop an analytical method for detection, confirmation and quantification of benzene in beverages and selected foods. CFSAN's Nutrition and Obesity Prevention​ strategy includes publishing guidance on the evidence-based scientific review system for health claims (including qualified health claims), and holding a public meeting on foods that companies are marketing as 'functional foods'. In addition, the agency said it plans to determine the percent of American consumers aware of US Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. It will also analyze dietary intake of fish in pregnant vs. non-pregnant women. In terms of Food Labeling​, CFSAN plans to solicit comments on updating daily values in nutrition labeling, and publish a proposed rule to revise existing regulation that requires irradiated food to be labeled. It also said it would publish a final rule on in-lid labeling for shell eggs, as well as develop a proposed rule to implement FDAMA notifications for nutrient content claims and health claims. Ongoing priorities for the agency include increasing by 10 percent the percentage of Americans aware of the negative health effects of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, including the link between saturated fat, trans fat and the risk of heart disease. To view CFSAN's FY 2007 Report to Stakeholders, click here​.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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