Label Policy Draws Praise and Criticism

Jul 11, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an announcement detailing
the agency’s plan to ease the criteria for companies wishing to make health
claims for products, according to the Washington Post.

Food and Drug Commissioner Mark McClellan said the new policy makes sense based
on the issues of the day. “There’s good competition now in the marketplace on
price and taste and ease of preparation, but the number one area of competition
should be the health consequences of a food product,” he said. “This is aimed
at making companies want to develop healthy products and to do the science that
supports their health claims.”

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is calling it “an important step
forward,” although it expressed reservations about some aspects of the announced

Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.) disagrees and charges the new policy “makes a
mockery of food labels.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the
FDA’s proposed policy changes for products making health claims?

We’re willing to take the chance with the FDA. If
products do not live up to their claims, it won’t take long before a roar
and ruckus goes up and consumers stop purchasing a product just as they’ve
done with items covered by the previous rules.

The FDA isn’t abdicating responsibility, it is simply
offering that it will give consideration to a wider range of research when making
decisions on the health claims made by a product’s manufacturer.

Anderson – Moderator

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