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With the focus on deregulation by the Trump administration, many food industry experts worried that the newly appointed commissioner of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, would roll back pending changes to nutrition labels and consumer information. However, at a recent conference, Gottlieb made it clear that the FDA is going to continue to push for food transparency with Nutrition Facts, labeling, and definitions playing a significant role in the agency’s new nutrition innovation strategy.
Improving the Health of Americans Through Food Transparency
At the National Food Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Gottlieb let everyone know that the nutrition innovation strategy is meant to improve the health of all American regardless of socioeconomic status.
“Our challenge is to help create more healthful choices and foster inovation and competition, and also make these choices more afordable.” – Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner
A study found that 20% of American deaths in 2015 could be attributed to poor dietary factors. Gottlieb made sure to emphasize the importance of research and facts on everything his agency does. He said that clear science-based information is the central pillar of the work we do at the FDA and is essential to helping drive better consumer choices.
Nutrition Facts Labeling Updates
Gottlieb indicated that the new Nutrition Facts labeling initiative is of the utmost importance, but he wants to make sure it is right. He wants to roll out the new label with a consumer educational campaign to help the average American better understand how many calories they should be consuming each day.
On top of the new label, he promised to handle the definition of “healthy” and “natural” for labeling. A core definition of “healthy” is critical to help consumers better understand what they are buying. The new definition will consider nutrient content. Consumers also want more clarity on “natural” which has never been defined by the NDA. While Gottlieb did not offer up much on this definition, he did indicate that it will need to be science-based.
Streamlining the Labeling Process for Food Manufacturers
Gottlieb believes the regulatory labeling process is currently too lengthy and time consuming for food manufacturers. He has added to his docked to streamline the labeling process to modern times. He wants it to be easy for consumers to understand the health benefits of a product.
He wants to make it easier for the food companies to clean up their labels. Interestingly, he used vitamins as an example since they typically appear by their chemical name on the ingredient statement. We believe it should stay this way as most of these vitamins do not come from whole food sources and are chemically derived. Our GrandFusion products concentrate these natural vitamins from fruits and vegetables and as a result, allow products to use a much cleaner ingredient statement.
Conclusion on Gottlieb’s Remarks
The FDA is overall in good hands with this Trump appointee. He is committed to pushing forward all of the Obama-era regulations and making decisions on scientific fact. He believes some of the processes in the FDA are archaic and need updating to work faster in today’s environment. It will be interesting to see all the changes that move forward under Scott Gottlieb’s leadership.
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