Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food Labels Matter 6/30/11 in Food And Beverage Packaging

Labels matter to your customers and competitors
June 30, 2011

by Steven Kronenberg, guest columnist and attorney for Murphy, Pearson, Bradley& Feeney.

Although properly-documented health and nutrient content claims may promote food product sales, consumers and competitors may sue your company for false advertising and unfair competition if it exaggerates those claims. The Food and Drug Administration may also issue a warning letter that may require costly remedial measures. Proactively determining that your product’s claims are truthful, accurate, and well-documented may help your company promote its product while reducing the risk (and expense) of litigation and government investigation.

Consumers read product labeling and health/nutrient claims

Some studies have found that72% of consumers “often” or “sometimes” rely on food labeling nutrient claimslike “low fat” when deciding whether to buy a product. Similarly,a recent poll found that almost 70% of consumers read product nutrition facts and ingredients .

Consumers and competitors can sue companies for falsely advertising health/nutrient claims

The California Supreme Court recently held that plaintiffs who can truthfully allege that a product’s label deceived them into buying a product they would not have otherwise purchased can sue that product’s manufacturer for false advertising and unfair competition. (Kwikset v. Sup. Ct. (Benson) (2011) 51 Cal.4th 310, 316 [“Kwikset”].) In Kwikset, the plaintiffs alleged the Kwikset Corporation falsely labeled and advertised its locksets as “Made in U.S.A.,”although it manufactured some parts in other countries. (Id.) These alleged false representations purportedly violated country of origin labeling laws. (Id.) Plaintiffs claimed they relied on the company’s alleged misrepresentations in choosing to buy the locksets. (Id. at p. 319.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/12/11 Michell Obama--Why not use RDs?

Michelle Obama's Shake Shack Burger Indulgence Defended by Nutritionists

PHOTO: First Lady Michelle Obama, a well-known advocate for healthy living and child nutrition, reportedly ate at Shake Shack, July 11, 2011.

Stop the presses, Michelle Obama might have eaten a hamburger.
The blogosphere erupted with criticism almost immediately after the Washington Post reported Monday that the first lady sat down at a newly opened Shake Shack in Washington D.C., where she ordered a ShackBurger, fries, a chocolate shake and a Diet Coke. According to the popular burger joint's website, that's a 1,556-calorie meal.
Many critiqued the first lady's public display of Shake Shack love as she continues to advocate for her Let's Move! campaign, an initiative to eliminate childhood obesity.
But even as the first lady-turned-health-advocate chowed down on a meal that contains almost an entire day's recommended calorie intake, most nutrition experts are telling people to relax.
"[This is an] unfortunate invasion of privacy for Mrs. Obama," said Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts School of Medicine in Boston. "She has kept her weight constant and engages in regular physical activity. An occasional indulgence is fine. For many people, that is what helps them keep on track most of the time."
Most experts agreed with Lichtenstein, while saying that the first lady's lunch is being unnecessarily scrutinized.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama, a well-known... View Full Size
PHOTO: First Lady Michelle Obama, a well-known advocate for healthy living and child nutrition, reportedly ate at Shake Shack, July 11, 2011.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama, a well-known advocate for healthy living and child nutrition, was seen indulging in a meal at Shake Shack, July 11, 2011.
Michelle Obama Remarks on Childhood Obesity Watch Video
The First Lady Keeps On Moving Watch Video
Michelle Obama Announces Nutrition Agreement Watch Video
"While the goal for healthy eating is to limit choices like fries and shakes, occasional treats won't hurt. The problem is that many Americans do this more than occasionally," said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. "It is good to see that even someone as committed to health as the first lady knows that healthy eating is about balance not perfection."
One meal does not make up a dietary pattern, said Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale Prevention Center.
"She ordered it, but we don't know how much she ate," he said. "Perhaps she did what is often advised under such circumstances; eat half, and wrap up the rest."
Dr. Randall Zusman, director of hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital, said, "The problem for many persons is that their baseline diets and lifestyles are unhealthy; the norm for them is unhealthy and in that setting, a 1,500-cal lunch is only a small part of a much larger problem."
The first lady has acknowledged her occasional splurge on such foods in the past. Last year, she told ABC News' Robin Roberts, "I love burgers and fries, you know? And I love ice cream and cake. So do most kids. We're not talking about a lifestyle that excludes all that. That's the fun of being a kid. That's the fun of being a human."
Not to say that all medical experts were completely without their concerns.
"There are immediate adverse effects independent of weight," noted Dr. Peter McCullough, consultant cardiologist and chief academic and scientific officer at St. John Providence Health System, Providence Park Heart Institute, Warren, Mich., while citing the immediate cardiovascular implications of the meal.
And Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical, advised via email: "Shake OR fries OR burger, not all 3 at once!"
But Katz of the Yale Prevention Center had advice for those who sought to make an example of the first lady's lunch.
"I invite only those whose diets are housed with no walls of glass to hurl a burger in the first lady's direction on the basis of this one lunch," Katz said.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Radioactive beef, not radioactive Tofu WSJ July 2011

Radioactive beef discovered in Japan

According to The Wall Street Journal, on July 12, Japanese authorities found that beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been shipped to shops and restaurants throughout the country. The beef, from six cattle raised on a farm near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, registered radioactive-cesium levels up to seven times that permitted by Japanese food safety standards. Some of the meat had already likely been eaten, government officials said.
Although experts said the level was too low to create health problems in people who ate just one or two servings, the report has reignited worries that the damaged Fukushima reactors could be poisoning staples from water to produce to fish. A month ago Japanese testers found higher-than-permitted levels of radioactive material in tea leaves that grew more than 200 miles from the nuclear plant—a sign contamination had spread farther than previously thought.
The six cattle—which had all passed external radiation tests—had been shipped earlier to Tokyo butchers, who had gone on to sell the meat to wholesalers and retail shops in eight prefectures, or states, and metropolitan areas. The farm that produced the contaminated meat had said it hadn’t given its cattle contaminated feed. The farmer later admitted he had fed his cattle straw that had been exposed to the elements—as well as radiation fallout—and that subsequent tests found to contain extremely high levels of radioactive cesium. That caused internal contamination that wasn’t detectable by the external radiation screening.
The Wall Street Journal article

New FDA labeling Post about regulations 7/12/11

Restaurant trade group asks FDA for flexibility on calorie posting

The National Council of Chain Restaurants has filed comments responding to menu labeling regulations proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), welcoming the proposal but asking for flexibility that would recognize differences between the restaurant industry and other foodservice sectors.
“Our members strongly supported adoption of a national menu labeling law, and we look forward to the orderly implementation of these requirements,” said NCCR Vice President Scott Vinson. “However, we have grave concerns regarding certain of the FDA’s proposed interpretations of the legislation Congress passed and the President signed into law. We hope the FDA will carefully consider our comments and adjust the final regulations to be consistent with the statute.”
In one example cited by NCCR in its 53 pages of comments, the FDA proposal includes an enforcement mechanism intended for the packaged food industry rather than the chain restaurant industry where food is prepared by hand and not machines. NCCR contends that the standard would be impossible for chain restaurants to comply with and would expose the industry’s thousands of small business franchisees to massive legal liability.
In addition, the NCCR asked that the FDA modify its initial proposal to ensure a smooth program rollout to the diverse array of chain restaurant concepts and similar retail food establishments. According to the NCCR, the FDA’s final regulations should incorporate a flexible approach in several key areas so that restaurants and other covered retailers are not burdened with unnecessary expenses and complexities, and consumers are provided information in ways that make sense and are easy to understand.
Press release
NCCR comments to FDA (pdf)