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Posts Tagged ‘labeling’

EAS Offers New Strategic Consulting Service

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

At a press conference on Tuesday, July 19, EAS Consulting Group (booth 4728), a consulting, training, and auditing firm that specializes in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory matters, launched a new strategic consulting service to the food industry as they struggle to develop new foods and dietary supplements that meet the demands of today’s health conscious consumers.

Edward Steele, chairman and CEO, explained that EAS, which has been around since 1960 under various names and leadership, has developed a strong reputation in the food and supplement industry for being the go-to source for all things FDA-related. With more than 150 consultants worldwide, many of which have decades of experience in the regulatory field or industry, EAS has been in the business of helping the food industry comply with applicable laws and regulations. “This service will take it one step further by working with R&D, regulatory, and marketing managers who have to navigate in the absence of clear regulation,” explained Steele.

Bruce Silverglade, a well-known food attorney with many years of experience in the area of food law, nutrition labeling, and claims, has recently joined EAS and will be serving as the nucleus of its new strategic consulting service for product development and labeling. Other recent additions to EAS’ expert consultants include Neil Smith, formerly in regulatory affairs with Mondelez, and Chris Chatzidakis, who was most recently with ConAgra in R&D.

This core group, in addition to the larger group of EAS consultants, will be able to help address questions such as: Should your company disclose GMO ingredients, create “non-GMO” product line, or stay the course? What are the risks of self-defining “natural” foods including the risk of class action litigation challenging such claims? The new EAS strategic consulting service will provide solutions to companies confronting daunting product development and labeling issues by taking a holistic approach that considers a company’s marketing objectives and the current regulatory, compliance, and enforcement environment at the federal, state, and local levels.

EAS will be adding additional food industry veterans in support of this new service as needed. It sees a growing demand for highly experienced thought leaders to help executives in the food business market their products to meet the demands of the consumer while navigating the increasing complexities of the ever changing regulatory environment.

Protein: A Trend That’s Here to Stay

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Woman with protein smoothiePromoting Protein in Your Products: What You Need to Know
Session 084
Tuesday, July 19; 8:30–10 a.m.
Room S503

Protein plays an integral role in human health, and consumers are increasingly aware of the ways that protein can boost their immunity and energy as well as build muscle, maintain cells, and manage their weight. In this session, Joann L. Slavin will discuss the importance of daily protein intake and talk about how protein can not only maintain but improve health. She will also cover the range of protein sources, including the growing area of plant proteins. Glenna J. Hughes will cover protein claims on labels, addressing the sources of data and methods currently available for informing statements on packages. Finally, Robert A. Burns will delve into methods for assessing protein quality, including a historical discussion of changes in methods and policies over time, as well as looming policy changes on the horizon within the United States. Burns will discuss how those changes may impact the food industry and the potential timeline for incorporation and adoption in global policy and regulations.

Preparing Today’s Scientists to Create Tomorrow’s Foods

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Food safety is becoming increasingly important to consumers, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t also expect creativity, quality, and innovation from what they choose to eat. With these demands growing, and as well as a desire for environmentally-friendly and sustainable products, tomorrow’s class of food scientists may have even more to consider as they begin their careers.

Manan Sharma began the session with a discussion on balance and how it pertains to the human gut biome, sustainable approaches to food safety, and international issues in food safety and testing. In the gut, the concept of balance applies to fiber; eating fiber provides health benefits, but it also makes people more susceptible to E. coli. In the future, he says, we “need to figure out the relationship between specific pathogenic bacteria and overall health.” In that same vein, as an industry, we want people to eat more fruits and vegetables, but we don’t want them to get sick doing it; recent outbreaks of foodborne illness have been associated with cantaloupe, spinach, and sprouts. Sharma also discussed water availability as a huge issue to watch going forward, citing the need for cost-effective technologies to irrigate crops. These could include recycling water, treating it with ultraviolet light, and filtering it through iron filings.

IFT Past President Janet E. Collins then spoke about past and current food-associated regulations, global standards, food industry impacts, and consumer concerns. “We talk about food safety as though it’s a thing when it’s everything,” she said. In her discussion, Collins said that recent regulations have focused on implementing precautionary measures that are risk-averse, sometimes in ways that don’t make sense scientifically. These labeling requirements can also have an impact on limiting global trade.

When it comes to labeling, she asked which things consumers really need and want to know; sometimes they think they want to go back to what they believe were simpler times, but this is because they don’t understand the science that goes into creating food. “We haven’t told them why we do what we do,” she noted, saying that claims on labels can be confusing to people who don’t understand how food is made. As scientists, we need to have hard conversations in the public sphere to better spread the message that innovation doesn’t have to be scary.

According to IFT professional member Lester A. Wilson, when it comes to preparing future food scientists currently in universities, “the future is now.” In his presentation, he discussed how models of higher education have evolved, tracing how teaching has moved from traditional lectures to hands-on learning and field trips to enhance how students learn. “We’re moving into student-centered learning,” he observed. Internships, co-ops, and shadowing help give students real-world experience to help determine their career paths. Traditional lecture formats have long been heading online, but sometimes they now include hands-on practice to apply the knowledge. In what’s called a “flip class,” lectures are held online and experiments are held in the classroom, something that’s been seen particularly in food engineering classes. Scientists must be confident in assessing situations related to food safety and quality and being able to understand the food supply chain—educators must stress critical thinking and problem solving to help prepare students to make these kinds of decisions.

The final speaker, IFT emeritus professional member John H. Litchfield, began his presentation with a review of the emerging technologies he presented in 1998—energy for processing, water use and reuse, nonthermal processes, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and packaging. Fast forward to 2015, forms of these topics are still in the forefront of emerging technologies. Litchfield discussed the key issues relating to these topics, such as using bioenergy, solar, and wind power to power food production more sustainably, as well as the idea of sociohydrology, which measures the water footprint associated with water use throughout production process.

He also introduced a new topic for 2015: big data analytics, volumes of large, complex, linkable data. The more data you collect, he said, the more likely there will be errors, so scientists must be careful. But big data allows for analysis from whole genome sequencing of food pathogens, food processing operational data, and integration of economic and market data with food product development. He believes that students must learn in school how to integrate this kind of information technology with traditional science education to be able to use this technology in their future jobs.

Unwrapping Science, Wellness, and Value Aspects of Processed Foods

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Where Do Science, Nutrition and Health, and Product Value Fit in the Conversation About Processed/Packaged Foods?

Session 059
Monday, July 13; 10–11 a.m.
Room S505

Packaged foodsAs consumers experience greater awareness of the role food plays in maintaining their health, they are turning increasingly to “whole,” organic, unprocessed foods, believing that these offer benefits that packaged, processed foods cannot provide. In this session, the speakers will discuss how these perceptions shape consumers’ purchasing and eating behaviors and explore ways to reframe how packaged foods are positioned to improve customers’ understanding of the part they can play in helping them meet their nutritional goals. Mario Ferruzzi will lead off the presentation with an overview of the ways food science and technology provide safe, nutritious, and affordable foods. Marianne Smith Edge will discuss consumers’ knowledge of the benefits of processed foods and how terminology associated with them affects acceptance. Robert L. Thompson will talk about processed foods as they contribute to the overall global food supply, providing affordability and increased nutrition through fortification; he will also examine the role processing plays in creating sustainable products while boosting food security and reducing waste. Robert C. Post will wrap up the session with a discussion about science-driven messaging on packages and how labeling transparency has proven beneficial to the manufacturers who have chosen to employ it, namely by driving consumer understanding, trust, and acceptance of those foods.

Presented by: Mario Ferruzzi, Marianne Smith Edge, Robert L. Thompson, and Robert C. Post

Understanding the Complex Chemistry of Dietary Fiber

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

BY: IFT Staff

Session 086
Monday, July 13; 2:15–3:45 p.m.
Room S405

Dietary fiber (DF) is a complex mixture (mostly carbohydrates) of food components resistant to digestion. Unlike other nutrients, dietary fiber derives its nutritional value, not from being digested and absorbed, but remaining undigested after passing through the stomach and small intestine. Similarly, quantitative measurement of DF depends on measuring resistance to digestion rather than specific quantitation of a chemical species.

Simulating the human digestive system and assuring capture and quantitation of the digestion resistant fraction of the food, combined with method reproducibility, are keys to solid methodology for dietary fiber labeling. This presentation and discussion will focus on optimizing the simulation of human digestion, optimizing the capture of dietary fiber in the method, and the need for reproducible, stable methodology for dietary fiber labeling purposes.

Presented by: David Klurfeld, USDA-ARS; David Plank, Medallion Labs; Barry McCleary, Megazyme International Ireland; Jonathan DeVries, General Mills (retired)

Packaging Materials to Enhance Food Quality and Safety

Saturday, July 11th, 2015


Session 024
Sunday, July 12; 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Room S505

Packaging exists to make consumers’ lives easier, containing our food, protecting it from the outside environment, providing convenience, and giving information about its content. Packaging systems are key tools in extending the shelf life of food by maintaining quality, ensuring safety, and monitoring/acquiring information regarding food performance through distribution.

Thus, packaging plays a vital role in preserving and ensuring safe food throughout the distribution chain. Special attention should be given to the packaging material chosen to protect and transport our food, as it must comply with existing government regulations and food requirements. This session will open with an overview of methods and approaches used by the regulatory agency FDA to evaluate the safety of food packaging materials. Recent research and new trends in food packaging technologies will also be discussed, including modified atmosphere for fresh produce. Furthermore, the symposium will address questions like: “Are new food packaging technologies meeting today’s expectations and needs of consumers?” and “What do the consumers and food industry need to know about these new technologies?”

Presented by: Timothy Begley, FDA; Shehbaz Singh, Apio; Eva Almenar, Michigan State Univ.

Short Course Examines Food Labeling Regulations

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Food labelOver July 10 and 11, nearly 70 people gathered at the Hilton Chicago to attend Labeling Requirements and Implications for Foods Marketed in the U.S. This pre-event short course aimed to provide attendees with a framework for understanding food labeling regulations and what claims can be made, as well as creating a discussion around what labeling controversies may lie down the road.

Speakers included Robert C. Post, senior director of nutrition and regulatory affairs at Chobani and former associate executive director of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and Eric F. Greenberg, a lawyer who advises on regulatory compliance with requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state and local laws. In their introduction to the course, they spoke about the overall framework of each agency and the differences between them. One element that the agencies share, though, are the definitions of label and labeling: the first refers to the actual printed packaging on the food, while the latter deals with all other written and printed materials associated with the product, including graphics and even social media.

The FDA puts the burden of labeling on the regulated companies, while the USDA inspects all products before they can be sold. The FDA regulates roughly 85% of foods—25% of consumer dollars spent—while the USDA regulates meat, poultry, egg products (not including shelled eggs), and catfish. Interestingly, the FDA regulates bagel dogs and sandwiches, as these products have a historical association with bakeries, which fall under the FDA. Corndogs and open-faced sandwiches, however, are overseen by the USDA.

Kathleen Crossman, who leads FONA’s regulatory team, spoke about the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and Riëtte van Laack, an attorney with Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C., a law firm that specializes in FDA regulatory matters, provided an overview of states’ jurisdiction over labeling. States cannot add extra requirements to labeling, but they can petition for exceptions. Most though have adopted a uniform food and drug law that matches the FDA’s Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. California’s Proposition 65 is not a food law, she explained, which is why the state is allowed to add warnings to product labels. She also touched on the idea of state-enacted GMO laws and how difficult and confusing regulating these products across state lines would be.

Van Laack and Post then discussed the basic and mandatory labeling requirements for the FDA and USDA. For the FDA, these include statement of identity, net contents, Nutrition Facts box, ingredient statement, allergen statement, and the name and place of the business producing the product. The statement of identity refers to the name of the product as defined by law or regulation—such as mozzarella, mayonnaise, and Greek yogurt—the common or usual name for the product, a descriptive term, or a name commonly used by the public for the food.

On the USDA side, these requirements include product name, handling statement, inspection legend (establishment and number), net weight statement, ingredients statement, company name and address, nutrition facts, and safe handling instructions. Country of origin is not required for FDA-regulated foods made from ingredients all sourced from the United States, only for imported foods, though there has been ongoing debate about country of origin labeling laws, particularly as it applies to meat.

Greenberg provided a breakdown of ingredient statements required by the FDA, which resulted in a healthy debate among attendees about how various ingredients should be addressed. He also touched on the order that ingredients must be listed—in decreasing order by weight—and discussed how water, caseinate, and juice are treated.

According to Greenberg, major allergens must be listed on labels as well; these are crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, and wheat. These must be listed by common name (milk, not whey); the “may contain” statement, however, is voluntary. According to Crossman, this label was intended for chocolate manufacturers or for other facilities that have the chance of dust, and not as a way for plants to get away with not cleaning their machinery fully.

Post then spoke about ingredient statements as they relate to meat and poultry products, which are intended to help consumers make informed decisions. The FDA and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service jointly approve ingredients used in the production of meat and poultry products. The USDA uses the common FDA naming conventions for ingredients such as eggs and sugar, unless the FDA regulation is contrary to the USDA regulation of policies—in general, the conventions among both agencies are very close. Post also discussed labeling of flavorings, spices, and colorings, as well as some flavoring ingredients that must be identified by source, such as hydrolyzed gelatin and autolyzed yeast. He also added that a product derived from meat or poultry must list the species or kind—dried chicken stock, not dried poultry stock, for instance.

In a hands-on workshop, Crossman asked attendees to put together the ingredient list for pasta based on a provided recipe and then determine which ingredients in another product need to appear on the label. Afterward, she discussed the requirements associated with labeling flavors before leading a second hands-on workshop. In this one, attendees determined if flavors could be labeled as natural or artificial based on their names, then decided if these could be included in a chocolate bar. Finally, the day concluded with an exercise that asked attendees which ingredients used to create flavors needed to be included on the overall product label.

During the second day of the course, Post and van Laack opened the day’s session with a discussion of the FDA’s and USDA’s nutritional labeling requirements. After touching on the proposed changes to the nutritional panel, they went over the nutrients required for listing, as well as serving sizes, the concept of the daily value (DV), and how these all must be formatted on the labels. They also listed some exemptions to these rules, such as small businesses, low-volume food products, and medical foods.

Carolyn Fisher, a senior scientist at Decernis who manages the global food additive database in gComply Plus, led a hands-on workshop on these requirements. She asked attendees to determine which nutrients from a list must be included on nutritional labels, pointing out differences between the FDA and USDA requirements.

Afterward, Greenberg and Post examined the types of health claims and nutrient content claims that are allowed by the FDA and USDA, as well as structure/function claims for the FDA; van Laack then talked about other types of claims, which included organic, natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, and cage-free. To solidify participants’ understanding of how these claims can be applied, Greenberg led a hands-on workshop in which he flashed product claims on the screen and asked the audience which were permissible to include as structure/function claims and which were unlawful drug claims.

The course concluded with a panel discussion that provided updates on recent developments relating to food label regulatory decisions, trends in litigation, and issues to keep an eye on, including pending changes to the nutritional label and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

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