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FDA Cites 17 Firms for Misleading Food Labels

Mar 4, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on misleading label claims and has written letters warning 17 food manufacturers to to correct such labeling.

In an open letter to Industry dated March 3, 2010, Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret Hamburg, M.D., underscored the importance of providing nutrition information that consumers could rely on.

“Today, ready access to reliable information about the calorie and nutrient content of food is even more important, given the prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases in the United States,” Dr. Hamburg said in the letter. She also expressed her hope that the warning letters would clarify the FDA’s expectations for food manufacturers as they review their current labeling.

The action follows an October 2009 statement by Dr. Hamburg., encouraging companies to review their labeling to ensure that they were in compliance with FDA regulations, and were truthful and not misleading. The violations cited in the warning letters include unauthorized health claims, unauthorized nutrient content claims, and the unauthorized use of terms such as “healthy,” and others that have strict, regulatory definitions.

In all, 22 food items were cited by the FDA letters for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  A complete list of the firms and foods cited can be found here.

Companies that received warning letters have 15 business days to inform the FDA of the steps they will take to correct their labeling.

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