Natural Foods Merchandiser

FDA, FTC Announce Initiatives

The Food and Drug Administration unveiled what it termed ?significant steps? in the implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. The three initiatives, announced at a press conference Nov. 4, include a regulatory strategy, an open public meeting set for Nov. 15 and a draft guidance document for the industry.

All three initiatives relate to FDA?s attempts to ?improve the evidentiary base FDA uses to make safety and enforcement decisions about dietary ingredients and dietary supplements.? The open meeting specifically sought comment on the evidence required for new dietary ingredient notifications.

In a release, American Herbal Products Association President Michael McGuffin said, ?Everyone in this business must make it their immediate business to read the documents FDA posted.?

In a speech to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford said, ?With this strategy, we will now have a clear road map to share with the dietary supplement industry, and at the same time give consumers a higher level of assurance about the safety of dietary supplement products and the truthfulness of their labeling.?

A week later, on Nov. 9, the Federal Trade Commission announced it was moving against false advertising in the weight-loss industry. ?Operation Big Fat Lie? aims to stop deceptive advertising, to encourage media outlets not to carry such ads and to educate consumers. Six companies were specifically targeted for using one of seven ?Red Flags? included in FTC?s education campaign announced in December 2003.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 12/p. 7

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