The panel's report is divided into nine sections: Definitions, Introduction, Food and Genes, Current Legal Standards, Scientific Standards, Policy Limitations, Bringing Functional Foods to Market, Role of Research, and Conclusions.
This report was officially released in its entirety on March 24, 2005, at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
The combination of consumer desires, advances in food technology, and new evidence-based science linking diet to disease and disease prevention has created an unprecedented opportunity to address public health issues through diet and lifestyle. Widespread interest in select foods that might promote health has resulted in the use of the term “functional foods.” Although most foods can be considered “functional,” in the context of this report the term is reserved for foods and food components that have been demonstrated to provide specific health benefits beyond basic nutrition (see definition on page 6). The term functional food is thus arbitrary, but it is nonetheless useful since it will convey to the consumer both the unique characteristics of the food and the associated health benefits.
The members of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) recognize that the foods already on the market represent a small fraction of the potential for functional foods. Today’s science and technology can be used to provide many additional functional foods, and future scientific and technological advances promise an even greater range of health benefits for consumers. Functional foods can provide health benefits by reducing the risk of chronic disease and enhancing the ability to manage chronic disease, thus improving the quality of life. Functional foods also can promote growth and development and enhance performance.
IFT prepared this Expert Report to provide a detailed, state-of-the-art review of the development of functional foods, including the products, the science, and the possibilities. (The report discusses examples of functional foods, however it does not provide a comprehensive review of all functional foods.) The report also emphasizes the importance of functional foods, provides scientifically based guidance for demonstrating both safety and efficacy, and provides a comprehensive summary of the applicable U.S. laws and regulations. The report proposes solutions to current impediments to functional food development, including limitations in the existing regulatory framework and the need for appropriate incentives to expand the availability of new products.
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Archived Video Webcast
FOOD'S IMPACT ON DISEASE PREVENTION POISED TO LEAP FORWARD;
REGULATORY INNOVATION BENEFITING CONSUMER HEALTH IS URGED
Originally broadcast live on March 24, 2005 , 1:30pm Eastern Time
Press Conference Participants (in order of appearance):
- Barbara Byrd Keenan, CAE, Exec. Vice President, IFT
- C. Ann Hollingsworth, Ph.D., Past-president IFT
- Fergus Clydesdale, Ph.D., Expert Report chair and co-author
- Gilbert A. Leveille , Ph.D., Expert Report co-author
- Diane F. Birt, Ph.D., Expert Report co-author