A consumer has alleged in a putative class action that the "zero-calorie" version of Arizona Beverages USA's Arnold Palmer actually contained 15 calories per can. Meyers v. Arizona Beverages USA LLC, No. 20-5543 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., filed September 18, 2020). The complaint asserts that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required Arizona Beverages to change the name of the product to "diet" because agency regulations only permit beverages with less than five calories per serving to list the calorie content as zero. The plaintiff, alleging that he would not have purchased the product had he known its true calorie content, seeks damages and costs for allegations of consumer fraud and a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will not initiate enforcement actions for the updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts label requirements in 2021 against food manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales. The updated requirements are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021. "Although the compliance date will remain in place, the FDA will not focus on enforcement actions during 2021 for these smaller food manufacturers," the announcement states. "This additional flexibility includes manufacturers of packages and containers of single-ingredient sugars, regardless of the size of the manufacturer."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the first print of the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which will be used to guide dietary recommendations. Changes include a reduced recommendation for the percentage of added sugars in an adult's diet and a section for children under two years old. The report also notes the effects of COVID-19 on its findings. "As more is learned about infection by SARS-Co V-2 and the development of COVID19, it is clear that it has significant nutritional implications. These parallel epidemics, one noninfectious ( obesity and diet-related chronic diseases) and one infectious (COVID-19), appear to be synergistic. Those at most risk for the most serious outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, are people afflicted by diet-related chronic diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease). Finally, throughout the world, the…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling has released guidance providing "step-by-step instructions to manufacturers of retail food products marketed in the United States on how they may convert the previous units of measure for certain nutrients to the new units in the updated Nutrition Facts label." The guidance also "provides information that can help manufacturers understand and comply with relevant labeling requirements," according to the agency's announcement.
The U.K. Cabinet Office has begun an open consultation on general health policies, including nutrition initiatives. The consultation includes an announcement that the government will ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16, with the full policy to be announced "in our consultation response shortly." The consultation response will also include details of a proposed policy on "making calorie labelling mandatory in the out-of-home sector, such as restaurants, takeaways and cafes." Further, the government has identified five areas of the country that will test programs to restrict advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt, incentivize business to "improve their retail offer," improve accessibility and affordability of healthy foods and "create healthier food environments through the planning system." The consultation also includes plans for "infant feeding, clear labelling, food reformulation improving the nutritional content of foods, and support for individuals to achieve and maintain a healthier weight."
A study published in a BMJ journal has purportedly found that foods marketed to children in the United Kingdom frequently contain health and nutrition claims that mislead consumers into believing that the products are healthful. Garcia et al., "Confused health and nutrition claims in food marketing to children could adversely affect food choice and increase risk of obesity," Archives of Disease in Childhood, April 4, 2019. The researchers categorized marketing claims on 332 products and reportedly found that some claims were unsubstantiated, including 75 percent of "one of 5-a-day" fruit or vegetable content claims. The researchers concluded that uniform guidance would help consumers navigate the nutritional quality of food products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established January 1, 2022, as "the uniform compliance date for food labeling regulations that are published on or after January 1, 2019, and on or before December 31, 2020" to help "minimize the economic impact of label changes." The agency also issued technical amendments to the Nutrition Facts Label Final Rule that correct errors in sample labels and inadvertent omissions of preexisting provisions.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several reports and guidance documents on food-related issues, including draft guidance on reasonable serving sizes and a report on foodborne illnesses in restaurants. Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion, Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed, Serving Size-Related Issues, Dual-Column Labeling, and Miscellaneous Topics. This draft guidance details how food companies determine reasonable serving sizes for the nutritional panels on their products. Comments submitted before January 4, 2019, will be considered before FDA begins working on the final version of the guidance. Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals; Guidance for Industry. FDA has provided a series of questions and answers on quantifying added sugars, vitamins and minerals. Several questions focus specifically on calculating added sugars in fruit juices…
The Council of Better Business Bureaus' Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) has announced an agreement among 18 companies to strengthen nutrition criteria for advertising to children under 12. Under the agreement, participating companies will not advertise food products to children unless the foods meet several updated standards, including reduced sodium levels. The standards will also limit "whole grain" labeling to those foods that "contribute a meaningful amount of whole grains" and limit nutrient-based qualifiers to "under-consumed" nutrients rather than "essential" nutrients. CFBAI also issued a white paper detailing the updated standards and the reasoning supporting each change. The implementation date is January 1, 2020, chosen to coincide with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's updated food-labeling regulations.
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has again barred HJ Heinz Foods UK from airing a television commercial suggesting that the nutritional benefits of beans and a protein supplement are comparable. After ASA found that the ad made an unpermitted nutrition claim, Heinz changed a line in the commercial to reduce an implied comparison between the levels of protein, fiber and fat in a protein shake and a serving of beans. ASA found that the updated version of the ad continued to create the “overall impression” that the two products were comparable and banned the ad from running on television.