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No New Regulations Needed for Functional Foods, IDFA Tells FDA

Mar 12, 2007

No New Regulations Needed for Functional Foods, IDFA Tells FDA

IDFA submitted comments earlier this month to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that there is no need to create new definitions or regulations to ensure the safety of functional foods or novel ingredients. In the comments, IDFA also asked the agency to streamline its process for reviewing new health claims, so consumers could have access to beneficial health information more quickly.

FDA decided last year to review conventional foods being marketed as functional foods and asked for comments on whether the agency needs to create a new regulatory category for these foods. Functional foods are foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition, such as milk fortified with Vitamin D and yogurt containing probiotics or bacteria that aid in digestion.

IDFA believes that the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and FDA's existing regulations are sufficient to ensure that all conventional foods, including functional foods, are safe for consumers.

"Robust enforcement of these existing provisions by the FDA will ensure the continued safety of the food supply and the removal of unsubstantiated claims from the market," the comments state.

IDFA encourages FDA to focus on enforcement of ingredient safety and substantiated claims as one way to strengthen the existing laws. Streamlining the approval process for food health claims is another way that FDA could strengthen its regulatory position, according to the comments. IDFA encourages FDA to issue more interim final regulations, which would allow recommended actions to be put in place during the public comment period and before issuing a final rule.

"We believe . . . that the benefits of providing nutritional and health information to consumers in a timely fashion far outweigh the risk that food companies might have to revise product labels at a later date," the comments state.

To read the full comments, click here. For more information, contact Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at or 202-220-3543.


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Posted March 12, 2007


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