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Nutritional Disclosure Requirements - FDA Guidance Offers Food Providers Chance to Weigh In

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Nutritional Disclosure Requirements - FDA Guidance Offers Food Providers Chance to Weigh In

Published: October 20, 2010

Getting sound nutritional
information into the ha­­nds of consumers before they pick up their knife and
fork is the recipe for healthy eating.
Tha;s the thinking behind the United States Food and
Drug Administratio-s
(FDA) recent guidance to
food providers.

Since
the 1980s, research shows a dramatic decline in American- daily physical
activity. Lack of activity, combined with increased calories in our food
supply and consumer consumption choices have made obesity one of Americ's top
health crises. The FDA is offering food providers an opportunity to take
a proactive and potentially heroic role in helping to solve the growing obesity
problem in America.
This overview will help you understand the FDA guidance as well as your state
and federal responsibilities, and how you can play a part in addressing the
growing obesity problem in America.

Understanding the FDA Guidelines

The
guidance comes as part of President Obam's recent healthcare reform, and
encourages food providers - including chain restaurants, coffee shops,
convenience stores, bakeries, vending machine operators, and others -
with more than 20 locations to post:

  • Calorie information adjacent to
    each item on a menu
  • Percentage each item represents
    of the recommended daily caloric intake
  • A statement on how consumers
    can find out more nutritional information.

Currently,
the FDA considers their guidance for food providers as a suggested
recommendation, rather than a requirement. The FDA anticipates issuing
final guidance in December 2010.
Although the FDA has't released the final guidance on disclosing nutritional
information yet, over twenty states have already begun incorporating
requirements' with California
as the first state to pass a law and New York*,
the first city. If you are unsure if your state or city has adopted such
provisions, contact your State Health Department.

Share Your Thoughts and Feedback

The
FDA has distributed the guidance in draft form in the hopes of receiving feedback
and questions from the food production industry. To provide your comments to
the FDA before they begin working on their final version:

  • Submit feedback electronically
    at www.regulations.gov
  • Send written comments to the
    Division of Dockets Management, Food and Drug Administration (HFA-305), 5630 Fishers Lane,
    rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.
  • Contact the Center for Food
    Safety and Applied Nutrition at 301-436-2371.

Notice: All
comments are due on or before October 10, 2010.

The
obesity problem in America
has become a crisis. The FDA guidance offers you a chance to be part of the
solution. As a food provider, consider the positive impact you could have' and the goodwill it would build' if you took the FDA guidance to heart and
began educating the consumers who buy your products or eat in your restaurants.

Related Resources

*hyperlink directs user to a
non-government website

About the Author:

Sarah Millican
I'm a digital strategy consultant with ENC Strategy (www.encstrategy.com) and work full-time to support the Small Business Administration in growing and developing this online community to the best that it can be.

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