Natural Foods Merchandiser

FDA Releases Walnut Health Claim
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April approved a qualified health claim for walnuts. The FDA will allow food producers to state on their products? labels that ?eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.? The label also advises consumers that the research supporting the claim is not conclusive and to also consider the fat content of the product. The claim is based on the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts.

The FDA began allowing qualified claims?those lacking definitive evidence—last year, including a provisional claim for nuts in general. Walnuts are the first food product to gain complete, final approval of a qualified health claim.


Lutein Helps Macular Degeneration
In what could be a boon for suffers of age-related macular degeneration, researchers working at the Department of Veterans? Affairs Medical Center Eye Center in Chicago found that visual function was improved in participants with ARMD taking a lutein supplement or lutein in conjunction with other nutrients. The study, a 12-month, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial, included 90 patients taking either 10 mg lutein; a formula containing 10 mg lutein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals; or a placebo. According to the journal Ophthalmology, ARMD is the leading cause of untreated vision loss in aging Western societies, accounting for 45 percent of all visual disability in the United States.


Low-Carb Labels Approved for Alcohol
If consumers are looking to relax with a tall, cool one without giving up their lean, hot looks, they?ll soon have guidance from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The bureau is instituting temporary standards for low-carbohydrate alcoholic beverages.

To be advertised and labeled as low carb, beer and other alcoholic drinks must contain no more than 7 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Drinks with more than 7 grams of carbs but fewer than the regular version of the product may claim ?reduced? or ?lower? carb status.

Furthermore, the TTB will prohibit claims that a low-carb alcoholic beverage is part of a healthy diet.

The rule went into effect April 7 for labels that were still pending approval. Existing labels must be in compliance by Sept. 1. The bureau also plans to institute permanent regulations later on. Similarly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue rules this summer for labeling low-carb foods.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 5/p. 9

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