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IDFA Supports Proposed Rule to Amend Vitamin D, Calcium Health Claim

Mar 26, 2007

IDFA Supports Proposed Rule to Amend Vitamin D, Calcium Health Claim

IDFA submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week voicing strong support for amending the existing calcium and osteoporosis health claim allowed on product labels to include the role that calcium and Vitamin D play in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. IDFA also supports FDA's proposal to shorten the required claim language to simplify product label information and make it more consumer friendly.

"The current model health claim is lengthy and ineffective in communicating the benefits of consuming milk and dairy products to promote good bone health and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis," the comments state. "Revising the existing health claim language to make it shorter and more concise will certainly make it more appealing for dairy processors to use on product labels."

In January, the FDA released a proposed rule for the updated health claim, and the comment period ended March 21. Once final, the rule would allow reduced-fat, lowfat and fat-free milk, and other eligible dairy products to display a health claim that states, "Physical activity and adequate calcium and vitamin D throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis," or "may build and maintain good bone health."

According to the federal government, more than 70% of the calcium in our nation's food supply comes from milk and milk products. Milk and many dairy products are also good sources of vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for the body to properly absorb calcium and maintain bone strength. During the past few years, many yogurt companies also have chosen to fortify yogurt products with Vitamin D.

According to the comments, milk was one of the first foods to be fortified with vitamin D, starting in the 1930s when an industry-wide program was initiated to prevent infantile rickets, a children's bone disease related to vitamin D deficiency. This practice virtually eradicated the disease in the United States.

Other foods that are excellent sources of vitamin D and calcium would also qualify for this health claim, as long as they supply at least 200 mg of calcium and 80 international units (IU) of vitamin D per serving. Milk and milk products are optimal choices, however, because they contain additional nutrients that are essential for building and maintaining strong bones, such as protein, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.

However, any products that contain high levels of fat, saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol would still be disqualified from using any health claim.

To read the full comments, click here. For more information, contact Frye at or 202-220-3543.



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Posted March 26, 2007


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