James Giese

FDA authorizes D-tagatose health claim
The Food and Drug Administration is adopting as a final rule, without change, the provisions of the interim final rule that amended the regulation authorizing a health claim on sugar alcohols and dental caries, i.e., tooth decay, to include the sugar D-tagatose as a substance eligible for the dental caries health claim. For more information, see the Federal Register of July 3, 2003 (68 FR 39831-39833).

FDA to require trans fat labeling
FDA announced on July 9 that it will require nutrition labels to indicate the amount of trans fat a food contains. The new requirement will mean that by January 1, 2006, manufacturers of most conventional foods and some dietary supplements will have to list in the Nutrition Facts panel the trans fat content of the product, in addition to the information about the overall fat content and saturated fat content.

USDA revises meat inspection fees
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is revising the hourly fees charged for voluntary federal meat grading and certification services performed by the Meat Grading and Certification Branch. The hourly fees will be adjusted to reflect the increased cost of providing the service, and to ensure that the federal meat grading and certification program operates on a financially self-supporting basis. For more information, see Federal Register of July 3, 2003 (68 FR 39805-39807).

Petition to revise standards for lowfat and nonfat yogurt
The National Yogurt Association has asked FDA to revise the standards of identity for lowfat yogurt and nonfat yogurt. The association’s petition seeks several changes in the standard of identity for yogurt, including incorporation of provisions for lowfat and nonfat yogurt. FDA requests comment on whether the actions requested by the petition would promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers. Comments may be submitted electronically to www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments. The petition is available for review at www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/00p-0685-cp00001.pdf.

FDA extends comment period on infant formula GMPs
FDA is extending until August 26, 2003 the comment period for its proposed rule on infant formula good manufacturing practices published in the Federal Register of July 9, 1996 (61 FR 36154). The proposed rule would establish requirements for current good manufacturing practice and audits, establish requirements for quality factors, and amend quality control procedures, notification, and records and reports requirements for infant formula. Comments may be sent to www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments. For more information, see the Federal Register of June 27, 2003 (68 FR 38247).

FSIS requires new registration by livestock processors
Since 1970, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has required registration by livestock processors whose animals have died otherwise than by slaughter. This information is critical in any FSIS investigation related to public health, food safety, or misbranding of meat or poultry products. FSIS intends to increase its enforcement of the registration and record-keeping requirements. FSIS has developed a new registration form. Parties must submit the new registration form to FSIS by March 22, 2004. For more information, see the Federal Register of June 25, 2003 (68 FR 37730-37735). When the new registration form becomes available, parties can access the form online at www.fsis.usda.gov/fsisforms/.

FDA and Mexico sign agreement on shellfish safety
FDA and Mexico’s Ministry of Health, Federal Commission for Protection from Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) on June 18 signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering the safety and quality of fresh and frozen aquacultured molluscan shellfish exported from Mexico to the United States. The agreement formally recognizes that the Mexican Shellfish Sanitation Program meets the U.S. guidelines. Under the agreement, shipments of shellfish may be exported from Mexico to the U.S. as soon as COFEPRIS provides FDA with certification forms for the identified shippers in Mexico.

by JAMES GIESE
Internet Editor