Food labels reveal trans fats, allergens
By now you and your customers have seen new information on the labels of some familiar products. As of Jan. 1, the federal government requires food labels to list the amount of trans fat a product contains. Labels must also disclose whether the product contains, even in small amounts, any of the eight most common allergens: tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, peanuts, soybeans or wheat.
As a result of having to disclose this information, some manufacturers are reformulating their products. Orville Redenbachers launched a trans fat-free popcorn and Frito-Lay is now using corn and sunflower oils in its chips, rather than hydrogenated oils. Whether this will create further competition in the naturals channel remains to be seen. Though the initiative was announced in July 2003, some manufacturers have filed for an extension on meeting the requirement, citing the need to use up product with old labels.
Barley rides on the coattails of oats
The health claim that oats may reduce the risk of heart disease, familiar to Americans since the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1997, has been expanded. In December, the FDA ruled that barley also contains high levels of beta-glucan soluble fiber, and therefore products containing barley may also display the health claim. Barley products must contain at least .75 grams of soluble fiber to qualify for the claim. The interim final rule took effect Dec. 23.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 2/p. 6