Health claim relating soy protein to reduction of heart disease risk approved
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a health claim stating that soy protein included in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of CHD by lowering blood cholesterol levels. To bear the claim, a food must state that the daily dietary intake level of soy protein that has been associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease is 25 g or more and must contain at least 6.25 g of soy protein per reference amount customarily consumed of the food product. For more information, contact S.M. Pilch at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-4500).

Irradiation of shellfish proposed
The National Fisheries Institute and the Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry have asked FDA to allow use of ionizing radiation to control Vibrio and other foodborne pathogens in fresh or frozen molluscan shellfish. Details are in the Federal Register of Oct. 19 (64 FR 56351). For more information, contact W.J. Trotter at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3088).

Proposal addresses health claims on alcoholic beverages
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is proposing to, among other things, prohibit claims regarding health benefits associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages unless the claim is properly qualified, balanced, sufficiently detailed and specific, and outlines the categories of individuals for whom any positive health effects would be outweighed by numerous negative health effects. Deadline for comments is Feb. 22. Details are in the Federal Register of Oct. 25 (64 FR 57413-57418). For more information, contact J.P. Ficaretta at ATF, 650 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20226 (phone 202-927-8230).

Guidance issued to help ensure safety of raw sprouts
FDA has issued two guidance documents to enhance the safety of sprouts, which have been implicated in at least 1,300 cases of foodborne illness in recent years. “Guidance for Industry: Reducing Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Sprouted Seeds” advises sprout producers and seed suppliers of steps they should take to reduce microbial hazards common to sprout production. “Guidance for Industry: Sampling and Microbial Testing of Spent Irrigation Water During Sprout Production” provides producers with the latest information about testing spent irrigation water, an important step in ensuring the safety of sprouts. Deadline for comments is Dec. 13. Details are in the Federal Register of Oct. 27 (64 FR 57893-57902). For more information, contact M.A. Smith at FDA 200 C St. S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-205-2975).

Third public meeting on bioengineered foods scheduled
FDA will hold the third in a series of public meetings on Dec. 13 in Oakland, Calif., to discuss issues related to human and animal foods derived from plants developed using bioengineering techniques. Deadline for comments is Jan. 13. Details are in the Federal Register of Oct. 25 (64 FR 57470-57472). For more information, contact N. Beru at FDA, 200 C St., S.W., Washington, DC 20204 (phone 202-418-3090).

How USDA plans to improve Americans’ eating habits
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, addressing a national conference on dietary behavior on Nov. 3, announced a number of steps that USDA will take to serve as a catalyst in changing dietary behaviors among Americans: USDA will soon release Dietary Guidelines 2000, providing commonsense advice about good nutrition and healthy lifestyles for the new millennium; a National Nutrition Summit, cosponsored by USDA and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, will call attention to the need for better nutrition; in May, USDA will start a new Behavioral Nutrition Research Initiative, bringing together USDA researchers, the academic community, and the private sector to explore Americans’ food choices; in spring, USDA will start a nutrition intervention pilot program in the Mississippi Delta; and a new Interactive Healthy Eating Index, an Internet-based tool, will allow users to grade their own diets and track changes in their diets over time.

Advertising guides for dog and cat food rescinded
The Federal Trade Commission has rescinded its Guides for the Dog and Cat Food Industry, which advised against misrepresentation in labeling and advertising. However, pet food labeling and advertising must still comply with the FTC Act, and sellers must be able to substantiate claims. Details are in the Federal Register of Oct. 25 (64 FR 57372-57374). For more information, contact J. Chung at FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580 (phone 202-326-2984).

Senior Editor

About the Author

IFT Fellow
Editor Emeritus of Food Technology
[email protected]
Neil Mermelstein