NuTek petitions FDA to allow potassium chloride be labeled potassium salt

July 6, 2016

According to Law360, NuTek Food Science has filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting that the agency “issue guidance recognizing ‘potassium salt’ as an additional common or usual name for potassium chloride as that ingredient is defined in 21 C.F.R. § 184.1622” (the “potassium salt petition” or the “petition”).

The request comes as consumers are taking a closer look at food labels and perhaps, according to NuTek, not understanding what chloride is or mistakenly associating it with chlorine or other chemicals. The company has proposed that potassium chloride be allowed to be labeled as potassium salt.

Both potassium chloride and sodium chloride are naturally occurring salts. However, while sodium chloride is defined by the FDA, labeled on foods, and commonly known to consumers simply as “salt,” potassium chloride is currently required to be labeled specifically as “potassium chloride” on food packaging. Food manufacturers use potassium chloride in foods to serve two main purposes: to replace a portion of the sodium chloride in order to replicate sodium chloride’s taste, preservation, and functional properties; and to enhance the amount of potassium—an essential but under-consumed nutrient—contained in food products.

The petition states that using “potassium salt” as the common or usual name for potassium chloride “more closely reflects reasonable consumer expectations of the ingredient and more accurately describes the basic nature of the ingredient and its chemical properties,” as required by FDA regulations. The petition further explains that allowing entities to voluntarily label potassium chloride as potassium salt will improve consumer understanding and acceptance of potassium chloride, and allow the food industry to accelerate the process of decreasing sodium chloride (salt) and increasing potassium chloride (potassium salt) in food products. To help solve these issues, the petition requests that the FDA “issue guidance (a) recognizing ‘potassium salt’ as an additional common or usual name for potassium chloride and (b) advising that an ingredient meeting the specifications for and uses of potassium chloride as set forth in
21 C.F.R. § 184.1622 may be labeled as ‘potassium salt.’”

The FDA is currently accepting comments on the petition through Dec. 26, 2016.

Law360 article

NuTek petition