Natural Foods Merchandiser

New labeling leeway for dietary supplements

Manufacturers of dietary supplements now have the option to include the daily value of an ingredient on a "per day" basis, in addition to the "per serving" information already required on the Supplement Facts label.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration is permitting statements on the Supplement Facts label that could guide consumers in calculating the daily amount of a supplement to take, when other parts of the label suggest it be taken more than once a day. "For example, a manufacturer could provide a statement such as 'Serving Size: 1 Caplet (Multiply amounts by 3 for total daily amount),'" the agency said in its final rule, published in the Federal Register. The FDA would not allow use of the term "recommended amount," however. "Introducing the term 'recommended' into the Supplement Facts label could suggest to consumers that the recommendation for the number of servings per day comes from some independent source, such as an expert body," according to the final rule. "Manufacturers and distributors remain free to use the term 'recommended' elsewhere on the label of their dietary supplements, so long as use of the term is not false or misleading."

The FDA approved the change last week, after considering six comments to a petition submitted in January 1998 by a division of the Amway Corp., and publishing a proposed rule in January 1999. The final rule is effective immediately.

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