FDA Cracks Down on Misleading Food Labeling

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration is cracking
down on baby food manufacturers and other companies for misleading
nutrition labeling on their products, the beginning of a larger
effort to set stricter standards for the labels.
The FDA sent warning letters to 17 food companies - including
Nestle, which produces Gerber's baby food - for violations it says
include unauthorized claims about health, nutrient contents and
terms such as "healthy."
The agency rapped Nestle for making health claims on Gerber
carrots for babies and Gerber Graduates puffs because "appropriate
dietary levels have not been established for children in this age
range," according to the warning letters. The puffs containers
claim that the product is "good source of iron, zinc, and Vitamin
E."
Several other companies that produce baby food, such as
Beech-nut, First Juice, Inc., Want Want Foods and PBM Products,
received similar letters.
The agency said in October that nutritional labels from food
manufacturers may be misleading consumers about the actual health
benefits of cereal, crackers and other processed foods and sent a
letter to companies saying it would begin cracking down on
inaccurate food labeling. On Wednesday, the agency said it will
soon propose new guidelines for calorie and nutrient labeling on
the front of food packages.
In the letter to manufacturers, FDA Commissioner Margaret
Hamburg said access to reliable information is important, given the
prevalence of obesity and diet-related diseases in the United
States.
Companies have 15 business days to inform the FDA of the steps
they will take to correct the labels.


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