The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) expressed general support and provided recommended changes for the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) proposed Rule, "Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels."
In 40 pages of comments submitted to FDA on Aug. 1, AHPA expressed strong support for a proposed provision that would require manufacturers to make and keep written records, such as analyses of databases, recipes, formulations, or batch records, to verify the declared amount of certain nutrients for which analytical testing is not practical to verify the content in the finished food.
AHPA also expressed support for FDA's proposal to retain the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) approach to setting Daily Values (DVs) for nutrients because it helps ensure that the corresponding DV will meet the nutritional needs of the vast majority of the population. In contrast, using Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for the nutrient would lead to DVs that are insufficient for approximately half of the population.
AHPA generally supports proposed changes to the format of the nutrition label because it increases the prominence of "Calories" and "Serving size," and positions the %DV column to the left of the nutrient name. AHPA also strongly supports the exemption of small package labels from the revised requirements to the maximum extent possible. AHPA agrees with FDA that changes to "Serving Size" and "Servings Per Container" are not necessary for dietary supplement labels, and that moving the %DV to the left of the nutrient name would not be appropriate for supplements.
AHPA's comments urge FDA to clarify current and proposed provisions for determining and labeling protein content on Nutrition/Supplements Facts panels because it is confusing to the industry and consumers. AHPA recommended FDA to consider changing the requirement from use of Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) to use of Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), since the latter is a more accurate method of evaluating protein quality.
AHPA expressed general support for the proposal to require disclosure of "added sugar" in foods and agreed that maintenance and review of the manufacturer's records is an effective and practical means to determine compliance with the values declared on the product label. However, AHPA also recommended a number of clarifications and adjustments to this proposed provision, including not counting moisture or other constituents of certain sweetening ingredients when calculating added sugar to avoid overstating the amounts of added sugars.
The proposed rule dictates that that the term "folate" shall be used in labeling conventional foods and that "folic acid" shall be used in labeling dietary supplements. In its comments, AHPA contends that this distinction could be confusing for consumers because there are a significant number of "whole food" supplements containing naturally-occurring folate and folic acid is often added to certain conventional foods.
AHPA also urged FDA to modify the rule to name the current edition of AHPA's Herbs of Commerce, which has been expanded to include nearly 1,500 more herbs. The current rule stipulates that botanical ingredients in dietary supplements shall be labeled using names that are "consistent with the names standardized in Herbs of Commerce, 1992 edition." AHPA encourages FDA to update this language to reference the most current edition.