WASHINGTON, Dec 05, 2006 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- GMA/FPA, the largest trade association representing the food, beverage and consumer products industry, today issued the following statement from Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer Pat Verduin, Ph.D. regarding her testimony before the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) public hearing on functional foods:
"All conventional foods and beverages are functional and have functional ingredients. We believe there is no value in having a separate and distinct regulatory approach for some foods versus others. Furthermore, current statutory and regulatory provisions require that ingredients used in the formulation of any food -- including those that bear health, or structure- function claims -- must be approved food additives, or Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), for the intended use. This would include any novel or unique ingredients being incorporated into foods for functional benefits.
"The food industry is committed to the safety of foods and food ingredients and to truthful communication to consumers -- including the use of substantiated claims. In addition to this commitment by the industry, the current statutory and regulatory frameworks of the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provide the necessary oversight for addressing any issues related to the marketing and labeling of 'functional foods.' It is important to also note that under current law, any claim used in marketing and labeling must be truthful, not misleading and substantiated. If a claim is false, misleading or unsubstantiated, current FDA and FTC policy calls for appropriate sanctions to be enforced.
"Consumers will be best served by the robust enforcement of existing provisions governing the safety of ingredients and the substantiation of claims."
The Food Products Association is the largest trade association serving the food and beverage industry in the United States and worldwide. FPA's laboratory centers, scientists and professional staff provide technical and regulatory assistance to member companies and represent the food industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, food security, nutrition, consumer affairs and international trade. For more information, visit FPA's website at http://www.fpa-food.org.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world's leading branded food, beverage and consumer products companies. Since 1908, GMA has been an advocate for its members on public policy issues and has championed initiatives to increase industrywide productivity and growth. GMA member companies employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states and account for more than $680 billion in global annual sales. The association is led by a board of member company chief executives. For more information, visit the GMA Web site at http://www.gmabrands.com.