The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is urging the Food and Drug Administration and state attorneys general to crack down on “slack fill” in food packages. Industry apparently defines slack fill as the difference between the capacity of a container and the volume of product inside.

The federal government’s existing regulations are intended to restrict slack fill to situations in which some air in packaging actually helps protect the contents or where some product settling makes slack fill unavoidable. According to CSPI, excessive “nonfunctional” slack fill is illegal, and food manufacturers and their regulators don’t seem “overly concerned” with enforcing the regulations.

“It would be disheartening, even shocking, if it weren’t so commonplace,” CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson was quoted as saying. “But as consumers, we’ve almost come to expect that our food packages will be half full of food and half full of air.” See CSPI Press Release, April 5, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.