The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning letter to Chiquita Brands International, Inc. indicating that the company is violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by misbranding several of its pineapple products. According to FDA, because Pineapple Bites with Coconut® is made with a coconut-flavored spray, the product’s statement of identity and ingredient statement are false and misleading and should instead be identified as containing “coconut flavor.”

The labeling also apparently states that the product contains antioxidants but does not include the names of the nutrients that are the subject of the claim. FDA further contends that the products include the claim “Plus Phytonutrients.” Because no recommended daily intake or daily recommended value has been established for phytonutrients, such nutrient content claims are not authorized, according to the agency. The products also apparently include the statement “Only 40 calories,” which FDA says implies that the products are “low calorie” foods. Low calorie foods are those that do not contain more than 40 calories per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC), in this case, 2 tablespoons for fruit products. According to FDA, the pineapple products contain 40 calories for each piece, or about 70 calories per RACC, which would require a disclaimer: “Only 40 calories per serving, not a low calorie food.”

FDA contends that the products are also misbranded because they contain ascorbic acid and citric acid but fail to declare these preservatives with a description of their functions. The agency refers to an earlier problem the company had with Salmonella contamination in its romaine lettuce product and faults the company for its response to the agency’s good manufacturing practices violations citation. FDA calls for the company to respond within 15 days regarding steps taken to correct the noted violations.

About The Author

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.

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