Monthly Archives: July 2011
Nutrient content claims are (thankfully) fairly cut and dried. These claims are really more like nutrition descriptions and include terms such as light, free, reduced in, and so forth. The FDA has set specific guidelines regarding the meaning of these terms, so they can be useful if you understand the definition of the term.
To complicate matters even more, manufacturers are getting around the entire issue by using structure/function claims. Structure/function claims draw attention to the relationship between a food or food substance and structures or functions of the human body.
Now you’re entering the gray area of health claims on the food label. Qualified health claims are categorized as such because they do not meet the requirements for significant scientific agreement as set forth by the FDA. Manufacturers must petition the FDA to begin using qualified health claims on labels, and when the claims do appear on packaging, a qualifying statement (such as “supportive but not conclusive evidence shows that_____”) must be included.
Health claims are statements on packages that describe the relationship between a nutrient and a disease or health-related condition. This particular area of the food label has gone through some major changes in the last several years because consumers are clamoring for more information about the foods they eat and how those foods might be contributing to their health and well being.