Here are a few regulatory issues to keep an eye on in 2008. We’ll see continuing focus on reducing foodborne pathogens, as well as pressure for greater checks on imports, particularly with respect to chemical contaminants. Also:
- Obesity – FDA has been urged to require more prominent nutrition information on packaging, and is considering whether symbols on the front label would be useful in helping consumers make informed choices. There also is heightened concern about childhood obesity, with emphasis on advertising to children and school food programs.
- Weight Loss – Challenges to the substantiation of weight loss claims for foods including dairy and green tea are expected to continue.
- Flavors – There are ongoing hearings regarding the occupational hazards (bronchiolitis obliterans, a.k.a. “popcorn lung”) of diacetyl, a component of butter flavor, as well as investigations into possible consumer risks. The outcome could be regulations or legislation, in addition to voluntary substitution. Other flavorants also could be affected.
Leslie Krasny is a partner at the law firm of Keller and Heckman LLP, San Francisco office. She specializes in food and drug law with emphasis on food safety, food labeling, ingredient evaluation, organics, biotechnology and advertising.