FDA’s Role in Improving Nutrition: Labeling and Other Authorities

FDA’s Role in Improving Nutrition: Labeling and Other Authorities


By way of background,
many people are unfamiliar with FDA’s
responsibilities. So a few facts that you
might find interesting relative – relevant to
our work in nutrition. 25 cents out of every
consumer dollar that is spent in the United States
is on FDA regulated products. We regulate the safety and
the labeling of 80 percent of all food consumed in
the United States, with most of the remainder
coming from the US Department of Agriculture. Our job is to ensure that
consumers are provided with accurate and useful
information in food labeling. We also encourage food
product reformulation to create healthier products. We work in close
collaboration with many of our other federal
partners; CDC, NIH, USDA, to name a few, in our
work on nutrition. By way of background,
CFSAN has responsibilities for food safety as well as
nutrition, and the two are mutually reliant. And I would say that
health really lies at the intersection of nutrition
and food safety. And the reason for that is
that many of the food that we recommend that
Americans consume more of – things like fruits and
vegetables – are also some of the food items that we
have concerns about from a food safety point of view. And that’s because
commodities like fruits and vegetables are often
consumed raw, and so if there is any bacterial
contamination, there’s no what we call a kill step
to make sure that those foods stay safe. So in order to have
consumers follow the dietary guidelines,
food safety is a really important aspect of that. So we work in many
different ways. We work in terms of
inspection and compliance on the food safety side. We also have a very
robust regulatory science research program that’s
really working very hard to prevent food safety
outbreaks, and to solve outbreaks earlier using
state of the art science. But now, today, we’re
going to focus primarily on a nutrition and not on
the food safety side of the work that’s done at
the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. And in the work that we do
in nutrition, one of our goals is to reduce the
rates of nutrition related risk factors for
chronic disease. And so an example of some
of the work that we have been highlighting that I
want to share with you today, is the work we’ve
done on trans fats in relationship to
coronary heart disease. By way of background,
science has shown for many years that trans fats are
adverse for health by raising the risk of
cardiovascular disease. We have robust data from
controlled feeding trials, robust data from
prospective cohort studies, consistent
results highlighting that trans fats are
adverse for health. This was followed by
several consensus reports from various scientific
organizations highlighting the problem of trans fats
in the food supply with regard to cardiovascular
disease risk. So what did FDA do
with that science? Well, we’ve been working
on that problem for several years. First, in 1999, FDA
proposed labeling efforts, with regard to trans fats. The labeling final rule
was published in 2003, and as I’m sure you are all
aware, trans fats were added as a line on the
nutrition facts label in 2006. So using our labeling
authorities to inform consumers about the
trans-fat content in the foods that they
were purchasing. In response to providing
that information to consumers, trans fat
intake in the United States declined
almost 80 percent. And that’s due
to two things. That’s due to food
companies reformulating their products to reduce
the amount of trans fat in those products. It’s also due to the
fat that consumers were choosing products that had
lower levels of trans fat. So that was an important
public health game in reducing the
exposure to transfat. However, about 20 percent
of that transfat exposure was persisting in
the food supply. And so what FDA did then
is basically issued a notice that we did not
believe that trans fats any longer met the GRAS
designation, or generally recognized as safe. So FDA published our
tentative determination with that conclusion. We went through notice and
comment period and finally published our final
determination last year in 2015 that trans fats,
these artificially produced, partially
hydrogenated oils, no longer met the GRAS
designation or generally recognized as safe. The compliance time for
this was three years, so as of June of 2018,
artificially produced trans fats are no longer
allowed in the food supply, unless companies
come into the FDA through a food additive petition
process, to indicate any low-level exposures that
they could demonstrate to FDA would be safe. So this is important work
that FDA has done to try to reduce cardiovascular
disease risk. To highlight the
importance of the work, the American Public Health
Association identified FDA removing artificial trans
fat from the nation’s food supply as one of the top
10 most important public health stories from 2015. Moving on. Another aspect that we do
to affect nutrition in this country is really
look at our labeling authorities. And we have a job to make
sure that consumers have access to accurate and
useful new information so that they can make
healthy food choices. As I’m sure you are all
aware, we have updated the nutrition facts label
and released the updated nutrition facts label
quite recently at the end of May of 2016. This is the first major
update to the nutrition facts label in
approximately 20 years. So it was time for an
update to the nutrition facts label. And why we’ll echo is
that the nutrition facts label has stood the test
of time, but the changes that we are making and
will be making moving forward with the nutrition
facts label, reflect the emerging science and the
science that has been changing over the
last several years. So the process we went
through is as follows: We issued proposed rules
in March of 2014. We had a supplemental
proposed rule issued in 2015, and two final rules,
again, published at the end of May in 2016. The first one is on the
nutrition facts label itself. The second one was
updating serving size requirements. And the serving size
requirements rule basically says what the
current serving sizes are that Americans
are consuming. We are required by statute
to make sure that the serving sizes that are
reflected on nutrition facts label reflect what
Americans are actually consuming. So these two rules were
published simultaneously at the end of May in 2016. In terms of compliance,
manufacturers, most manufacturers have
approximately two years to comply with the nutrition
facts labeling update. But businesses that are
smaller, that is have less than $10 million in annual
revenue, have an extra year to come
into compliance. So over the next two to
three years, consumers will be seeing the updated
nutrition facts label that was rolled out
in May of 2016. So what are some of the
key changes made to the nutrition facts label? I’d like to highlight some
of the big changes that we’ve made. One of the most important
changes is that we have now mandated the
declaration of added sugars. So added sugars is a new
element on the nutrition facts label with
the updated format. And in addition to having
added sugars, there’s also a percent daily value, and
the percent daily value is based upon 10 percent of
calorie intake coming from added sugars. We’ve also modernized
the format to give much greater prominence to
things like calories, as well as serving
size information. We’ve also updated the
footnote to highlight the succinct statement about
2,000 calories being the basis of a normal,
typical diet. We updated daily values
that needed updating. There have been many
updated dietary reference intakes since the original
nutrition facts labels were produced, so we
updated the daily values for several of the
nutrients in order to reflect the most
current science. We also updated the
nutrients of public health significance. These are nutrients
that are required to be declared on the
nutrition facts label. Two new ones that will
now be showing up on food labels, nutrition facts
labels, are vitamin D and potassium. They are taking the place
of vitamins A and vitamin C, which are no longer
considered public health nutrients of great
significance. In terms of trans fat,
trans fat will remain on the nutrition facts label
because there are natural sources of trans fat. And also, we are in this
transition period while we are phasing out the
artificial sources of trans fat, so transfat
will remain on the nutrition facts label. We’ve also made some key
changes with regard to dietary fiber. Now, in order for a fiber
to be included on a nutrition facts label,
there has to be evidence reviewed by FDA that
any added fibers have physiological benefit
to human health. So that’s an important
change, in terms of the types of fibers that can
now be declared on the nutrition facts label. There are recordkeeping
requirements for the first time for companies to
keep, so that we can validate the information
that goes onto the nutrition facts labels. As indicated before, we
have been updating the serving sizes so that
the reference amounts customarily consumed, or
RACCs, have been updated for several
different products. For example, the standard
serving size for a sugar sweetened beverage type
soda used to be eight ounces. That has now been updated
to 12-ounce to really reflect what consumers
consume today. To give consumers more
information about the calorie and nutrient
content they’re consuming in certain types of
packages, we now require dual-column labeling with
nutrition information listed per serving and per
package for certain types of products. For example, products
that contain two to three servings per container. And also, we’ve changed
the criteria for single serving packages. So for example, again,
with soft drinks or soda, while 12-ounce is
the reference amount customarily consumed, a
20-ounce soda would be required to declare the
content for that entire package as one serving,
because that is typically how it is consumed. So in a nutshell, those
are some of the key changes that have been
made with regard to the nutrition facts label,
to really make the information more
accessible to consumers, to update the information
to reflect current nutrition science, and as
I indicated, to now add on added sugars as a new
element on the nutrition facts label. During the transition
to the new label, as I indicated, consumers are
still seeing the existing nutrition facts label and
will start seeing the new nutrition facts label over
the next two to three years. It’s basically up to the
food manufacturers to roll them out as they
reprint those labels. So we will start seeing
those new labels in the near future. And during that
transition, we are continuing our educational
efforts to help consumers understand nutrition
facts labels in general. So some of the tools that
we have recently released to help with our
educational efforts on nutrition facts labeling
include one particular interactive nutrition
facts label game that’s targeted to children ages
eight to 15 to help them understand nutrition
facts labeling. This is – We have a
couple of different games in this, but this FDA
Snack Shack in Whyville, two games for tweens. The first one is
called Snack Shack. They’re two different
games that teach Whyville citizens how to understand
the nutrition facts label. There’s a module that
includes label lingo to teach teens, tweens,
information about the label. And there’s also a module
on snack sorting, which helps tweens rank and
choose different types of foods, based using the
nutrition facts label for reference. And during the first six
weeks after the launch of this nutrition education
initiative, more than 8,000 games were played by
tweens who are learning about use of the
nutrition facts label. We’ve also developed an
online tool, essentially an interactive label
that allows consumers to explore the different
parts of the label to focus in on the nutrients
that they are specifically interested in. So I think that this
is very helpful for consumers. They can go to the
ingredient list to understand the different
components of the ingredient list. There’s also 16
downloadable and printable fact sheets about the
different components of the label that we hope
consumers will take advantage of in learning
how to use the label format. And if you’re interested
in finding our website and finding the information
on our website, you could simply search for “learn
about the nutrition facts label” and that will take
you to all the different modules that we have
available to help consumers understand the
nutrition facts label. Also, we’re working with
health care professionals to help communicate how to
use the nutrition facts label in educating
their patients. So for example, recently
in collaboration with the American Medical
Association, we produced a video, a continuing CME
education video for physicians about using the
nutrition facts label in terms of helping patients
make healthful choices. This was launched in June
of this year, and while physicians are
knowledgeable about nutrition’s role in
health, they may be familiar with the
nutrition facts label, but this really walks
physicians through examples, right on the
video of how to work with them on different label
elements that may be helpful to their patients. So it’s targeted for
general health, as well as to combat obesity,
reducing the risk of other chronic illnesses, such as
cardiovascular disease. The video and the
companion patient educational materials are
all available for health care professionals, on the
FDA, as well as the AMA website. And the FDA will be
updating all of these educational resources that
reference the nutrition facts label to reflect
the transition to the new label which was announced,
as I said, just last month, in May of 2016. And again, if you’re
interested in this, please search for food safety and
nutrition resources for health care professionals,
and you will find access to these, to the AMA video
and other resources that are helpful in learning
how to use the nutrition facts label. So now that the FDA has
published the final rule updating the nutrition
facts and supplement facts labels, as well as the
serving size rule, we have some other work to do. And that is because many
of our regulations, for example, nutrient content
claims, will also need to be updated. For example, with changes
in serving sizes, that could affect nutrient
content claims. With changes in daily
reference values, that could also affect
nutrient content claims. So now that the nutrition
facts label has been updated, we will be
working to update the rest of the regulations so that
they all work together and are consistent with each
other, with regards to nutrition facts labeling. So in addition to
nutrition content claims, we also need to update
some other label information. One example is the
term “healthy”. And we know that healthy
needs to be updated to reflect the most current
nutrition science. We have received a
citizen’s petition, for example, from the Kind
company, to update the term healthy. And we recognize healthy
is one thing that we need to update to make sure
that, again, all of the different labeling
elements work together and are consistent. So that is one of the
label claims, one of the label content items
we will be looking at updating in the future. Healthy. Another one that we need
to update moving forward is the term “natural”. And we have issued a
notice, as well as a request for comments about
the process of updating the term natural. And we asked a series of
questions about how people interpret the term natural
with regard to food labeling. We’ve asked questions
about how a food is produced. Should that affect whether
or not it could carry a natural label? How about ingredients
that are produced through genetic engineering? Should they qualify for
natural labeling or not? And we went through a
public comment period. It was extended until
May 10th of 2016, so the comment period on natural
labeling closed fairly recently. To date, we received over
6,000 comments with regard to natural labeling, and
the team will be sifting through the comments as we
work to move forward with regard to the label term
natural on a food label. And anything we do will,
of course, be the result of a very public process. Now, some other labeling
activities that FDA has been engaged in that are
relevant to nutrition include our menu labeling
and our vending machine labeling initiatives. Beginning with
menu labeling. The Affordable Care Act
stipulated that certain chain restaurants and
similar retail food establishments must
disclose nutrition information for
standard menu items. And what that means is
it means a disclosure of calories in standard menu
items on menus and menu boards. It also means providing to
consumers, upon request, other nutrition
information that they might want to have
made available. And it also says that,
along with menu labeling, there has to be the
succinct statement about suggested calorie intake,
so a consumer would know how many calories in a
food, how that might relate to a total
daily intake. The proposed rules were
published in 2011. Final rules were published
in December of 2014. A final guidance document
came out in May of 2016, and now the compliance
date is one year from that, or May 5th in 2017. So starting in May 5th
of 2017, menus and menu boards need to include
calorie content, calorie information for consumers. For menu labeling, the
covered establishments include those that have
a chain of 20 or more locations, and there’s
certain other criteria that are detailed
in the rule. So this will be a big step
forward for consumers in having access to calorie,
as well as nutrition information made available
upon request, to foods eaten in restaurant
settings and in similar retail food
establishments. With regard to vending
machines, a similar statute, a similar
stipulation came from the Affordable Care Act. And basically it said
that for vending machine operators that have 20 or
more vending machines, they must disclose calorie
information at the point of purchase. And the compliance date
for that is December 1st of 2016 for most
vended items. So again, tools giving
the consumer access to information that can help
them choose healthier diets, in this case, at
the point of purchase. All right. Some of the other
important nutrition activities that FDA
has been engaged in. One that I want to
highlight today is the work that we’ve been
doing on sodium. As many of you are, I’m
sure, aware, is on June 1st, FDA announced that we
were issuing draft targets for industry that would
provide voluntary reduction targets for
industry across a whole array of different
types of foods. Essentially, what the
approach is, is what we published our short term
targets, that is two-year targets, as well as long
term targets, or ten-year targets, once finalized,
that the industry should be trying to meet to help
lower the amount of sodium in the US food supply. The approach that we
are taking is a gradual approach to reducing
current sodium consumption, which is
currently estimated to be about 3,400 milligrams
per day, by setting these short and these
long term targets. The short term targets are
designed to reduce sodium intake to around 3,000
milligrams per day from the current 3,400
milligrams per day. And the long term targets
are designed to reduce sodium intake to 2,300
milligrams per day. And these targets take
longer because we recognize that there are
some technical constraints on sodium reduction and
reformulation that the food industry will
need to work through. So the ten-year targets
allow for that time for industry to achieve those
particular targets. The approach that we’ve
taken is we identified 16 major categories of foods,
150 subcategories of foods, and we looked
across those food categories at the sodium
content on foods that are selling in the marketplace
across these different categories. And what we’ve realized is
that there was quite a bit of variation across these
different categories and there were products
selling on the market that were successful that had
much lower sodium content. So progress can certainly
be made in sodium reduction across these
different categories. Now, a key aspect of the
sodium targets is that it applies to food
manufacturers, it applies to restaurants, and it
also apples to food service operations. And the reason is, is that
consumers eat a lot of food outside of the home,
in the restaurant setting, in the retail setting. And we want to make sure
that there’s a level playing field across the
food supply, as we work to reduce the amount of
sodium content in the food supply. And as I said, we issued
these as draft targets. We are now engaged in a
public comment process with industry to figure
out if these targets are correct, if they need
any modifications. So we are engaged in a
dialogue with industry, but the important thing
is that it really gives industry a common metric
that they can all compare themselves against, with
regard to sodium reduction initiatives. And we give credit to
progress that had been made by industry over the
last several years, with regard to their sodium
reduction initiatives. In fact, many of the top
selling products on the market today are already
meeting the short term targets. But we believe this is
a very important path forward in order to really
address the problem of sodium and excess sodium
in the US food supply. So a few comments on why
I believe this is a very important initiative and
why FDA has really focused on this. First of all, we
eat too much sodium. As I mentioned,
3,400 milligrams. It leads to high blood
pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart
disease and stroke. And this is consistent
with the evidence that’s been reviewed by many
different organizations; the Institute of Medicine,
the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans,
Healthy People 20/20, all target sodium reduction
as an important thing for public health in the US. The totality of the
scientific evidence clearly supports reduction
from the current levels of intake, and this is,
again, is based upon a lot of evidence, including
clinical trials looking at sodium reduction and the
effects on blood pressure. Also based upon high
quality cohort studies that link higher sodium
intake with higher risk of cardiovascular
disease events. If you’d like to look at
that science in greater detail, I will refer you
to a publication that was issued in the New England
Journal of Medicine, as well as the Journal of
the American Medical Association on the day
that we released the sodium targets, and
that was June 1st. And one, in particular,
was authored by Dr. Thomas Frieden, Head of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
that really emphasizes the science supporting sodium
reduction in the US food supply. So why are the
targets so important? Why did we choose this
particular strategy? The main reason is that
most of the sodium that we consume in our diets comes
from salt that’s added to processed and
restaurant foods. Many consumers report
that they’re trying to reduce sodium, they’re
trying to take action to reduce sodium, but salt
that’s added during cooking or salt that’s
added at the table comprises a relatively
small proportion of daily sodium intake. About three-fourths of our
daily intake comes from processed and
prepared foods. That makes it really
difficult for all of us to control how much
sodium we consume. Even many of us who have
a strong background in nutrition find it to
be a great challenge. So while there has been
initiative done my many industries, there hasn’t
been a level playing field. And so to get to a level
playing field, we really need to lower it in these
important contributors to sodium in the
US food supply. And so the targets are
issued across a whole array of different types
of foods, ranging from salad dressings to bread
to prepared foods, and we encourage you to look at
some of those targets that are on our website to see
what types of reductions certainly should
be possible. All right. What are some of the other
nutrition activities that have been ongoing
at the FDA? One of the things that I
wanted to highlight is that FDA is responsible
for nutrient fortification of our food supply. In 1996, FDA authorized
folic acid fortification in enriched cereal grain
products, for the purposes of reducing birth defects,
specifically anencephaly and spina bifida. So we’ve had folic acid
fortification of certain grains in the food supply
for approximately 20 years now, with demonstrated
improvements in public health, namely reductions
in birth defects. And that’s an important
public health game. More recently, FDA was
approached by several organizations that wanted
to extend folic acid fortification to one
specific commodity, namely corn masa flour. And the concern was that
many women of childbearing age who regularly consume
products that are made from corn masa flour,
might not be getting the benefits of folic
acid enrichment or fortification of the more
traditional cereal grains. And therefore, they might
be at a higher risk for neural tube defects. And specifically women who
consume corn masa flour, this is widely consumed in
women of Latin American descent, so this is a
population that may be at higher risk because of
their dietary practices. So we were approached with
a food additive petition to add folic acid
to corn masa flour. So FDA reviewed the food
additive petition, and in April of this year, went
ahead and approved that food folic acid
fortification to the same level in corn masa flour
as what it currently exists in enriched flour,
and that became effective in April of 2016. So when FDA reviews
fortification, we have to do a safety determination. And the standard that we
use is the reasonable certainty of no
harm standard. And so what that means
is, in order to approve fortification, FDA has to
really look at cumulative exposure to folic acid,
considering all foods in which folic acid or any
food additive can be used, and considering population
groups that might be especially affected by
the fortification policy. It does not consider
the benefits. A food additive petition
only looks at safety. So what FDA did is we
modeled folic acid intake across eight different age
groups in the population, across both men and women
in considering different racial and ethnic groups,
in terms of their intake patterns. And we modeled the current
data, looking at what folic acid intake is right
now across all of these different subpopulations,
as well as what would happen to the intake if
corn masa flour were fortified with the
levels that were being considered. And what the data
indicated is that there would be a small increase
in folic acid intake in the general population,
approximately a seven percent overall increase
in folic acid, but in the target population of
non-pregnant women age 15 to 44 years, specifically
focusing in on Mexican-American women,
this would predict about a 26 percent increase
in folic acid in this population that, again,
consumes more of this particular type of flour. So that was the
intake estimate. As part of the safety
evaluation, we had to consider what possible
adverse effects or safety concerns might this
have for the general population. The primary concern, with
regard to folic acid fortification, is
masking of vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is
common in older people in our country. So FDA looked carefully
at what were the primary risk factors for excess
consumption of folic acid, where it was determined
that it’s really supplement use. People who take
supplements, multivitamin, multimineral supplements,
are at much greater risk of having high
intakes of folic acid. Any additional risk from
fortification of this particular flour
was negligible. So in considering people
who have these higher intakes due to
supplements, the question is, are we confident
in the safety? And the determination was
yes, because first there was a large safety
margin, based upon a very conservative
exposure assessment. And second of all, the
health risk of vitamin B-12 masking, noting that
the biggest risk factor for excess folic
acid is supplements. Those supplements
typically would contain B-12, along
with folic acid. So based upon the safety
evaluation that FDA did, we approved fortification
of folic acid in corn masa flour. So a few of the other
things we’re doing on the nutrition front. We also evaluate
risks associated with contaminants in our food
supply, and one particular contaminant that we’ve
been looking at recently is inorganic arsenic. So inorganic arsenic is
present in water, soil, and air from natural
sources, as well as a result of human
activities. And for that reason, it
makes its way into a variety of
different foods. And one food in particular
that we have been concerned about is rice,
and that’s because rice takes up more inorganic
arsenic than most other foods. Inorganic arsenic is
a known carcinogen. It increases risk of
bladder and lung cancer, for example, and it’s also
been associated with many non-cancer effects in both
acute and chronic setting. So why has the FDA been
concerned about inorganic arsenic in rice? As I indicated, rice takes
up more inorganic arsenic than other commodities. Rice is also an ingredient
in a lot of different foods and beverages, and
so that has generated worldwide interest in the
issue of inorganic arsenic in rice. So codex, the
international standards, they have set a standard
of 200 parts per billion inorganic arsenic as a
limit for white rice. Now, with regard to other
concerns about inorganic arsenic, one of
the concerns is neurodevelopmental
concerns resulting from early life exposure
to inorganic arsenic. So FDA looked at
this very carefully. We’ve done a lot of food
analysis, sampling and analysis. We’ve done a
risk assessment. We’ve talked about risk
management, and then also, how do we communicate
those risks? So as part of one of our
risk assessments, we looked at modeling rice
intake, noting that rice has the highest levels of
inorganic arsenic in most of the foods that
we’ve tested. And we looked at
what populations are specifically consuming
the most rice. And what the data reveal
is that the highest rice intake occurs, actually,
in infants at eight months of age, and it’s
approximately three times greater than adults, and
that’s based upon a per kilogram body
weight basis. And there’s two reasons
why infants have had the highest intake of rice,
and also therefore inorganic arsenic. One is that infants have
commonly been fed infant rice cereal as a first
started food, and they don’t have the dietary
variety that adults have. So on a per kilogram body
weight basis, infants have the highest rice
intake of all. So this flagged up infant
rice cereal as an issue of concern for the FDA
because of the amount of inorganic arsenic and
because of the high consumption of
rice in infants. So as the next step, FDA
then looked at testing a lot of different foods
that infants and toddlers may be consuming. Because if we wanted to
focus in on infant rice cereal, we wanted to be
sure that we knew what the inorganic arsenic levels
would be in other foods that infants might
be consuming. So we did a lot of testing
and we released all of that test information
publicly on our website. And what we found is that
infant rice cereal is a much higher exposure to
inorganic arsenic than essentially any of the
other foods as a group that we were looking at
in the infant and toddler setting. What we found is that
other infant cereals that are not made from rice –
for example, barley or whole grain cereals –
had much lower levels of inorganic arsenic. So as a result of looking
at all of the data and looking at this particular
issue with the vulnerable population, FDA proposed a
draft action level of 100 part per billion inorganic
arsenic in infant rice cereal. And when we set an action
level, we have to think about public health risk
and we can also look at feasibility. And the point here is
that, if we can reduce inorganic arsenic levels
with an action level, that will reduce exposure
in this vulnerable population. Working in collaboration
with organizations like the American Academy of
Pediatrics, we’ve been giving advice to
parents and caregivers. And what we’ve recommended
is feeding infants iron fortified cereals to be
sure that the infant is getting enough of this
important nutrient, but that it doesn’t have to be
rice cereal, that there are other infant cereals
that could certainly be considered, like oat
cereal, barley, multigrain cereals. For toddlers, we
recommend providing a well-balanced diet, which
includes a variety of grains and not just
focusing in specifically on rice. All right, a few more
comments before we wrap up today. I mentioned that FDA is
responsible for food labeling, and one area
that I wanted to highlight is we are also responsible
for labeling of foods that come from genetically
engineered sources. As I’m sure you know,
there has been much interest of late in the
labeling of foods that contain ingredients
derived from genetically engineered sources. There was a labeling bill
passed in Vermont that went into effect July 1st
that mandated the labeling of foods that contain
ingredients that are derived from genetic
engineering. There are numerous bills
that have been debated in Congress and the Senate,
and just recently, the Senate has passed
legislation that is now going to move to the
House that would mandate labeling of foods that
contain genetically engineered ingredients. And so, this legislation
is making its way through, and the point from an FDA
perspective, is that FDA will, of course, carry out
any labeling requirements that come to us through
any legislation. So we will be closely
engaged with the movement forward nationally, with
regard to the labeling of genetically
engineered foods. In the meantime, FDA has
issued guidance documents. We’ve given food
manufacturers information on how they can
label their foods. For example, if their
foods contain ingredients from GE crops, how would
that labeling would look like. We also publish guidance
on how to label genetically
engineered salmon. And we also know that many
food companies over the last several months are
now voluntarily labeling genetically engineered
ingredients. So FDA is working on a
path forward to develop consumer education
materials about what this labeling might look like
and how consumers can begin to understand the
labeling of genetically engineered foods. So in summary, I just
wanted to highlight the fact that FDA really does
an enormous amount to improve nutrition in
the United States. I’ve highlighted some of
our most important recent actions that are truly
very high impact in the US, in terms of their
role in improving the nutritional status
of the US population. For example, the work
we’ve done on partially hydrogenated oils, the
work we are doing to reduce sodium intake
in the US food supply. And our changes with
regard to labeling. For example, putting added
sugars on the label for the very first time. I would argue that these
are very, very important changes that have occurred
under this particular administration and can
really go a long way towards improving the
nutrition status of the United States population. So thank you and I’m happy
to take any questions that people may have by
email after this point. Thank you.

Daniel Yohans

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