FDA plans to allow companies to make certain health claims for foods even though the stated health benefits may still be the subject of scientific debate.

WASHINGTON—FDA plans to allow companies to make certain health claims for foods even though the stated health benefits may still be the subject of scientific debate.

At the same time, the agency said it intends to beef up enforcement against misleading health claims by the dietary supplements industry.

FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan said both moves are intended to give consumers more information about foods and dietary supplements and provide consistency in how the agency treats health claims for both.

Under the new FDA guidance, companies will be able to submit qualified health claims for conventional foods based on “the weight of scientific evidence,” an easing of a previous requirement that there be a consensus backed by “the totality of publicly available scientific evidence.” FDA officials said the change would allow a company, for example, to submit a health claim saying foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, found in some fish products, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Sidebar: Farm Stores Quick Card

Farm Stores Grocery, Inc., claims to have developed the quickest way to shop for milk in Florida, without getting out of the car, with the new pre-paid Farm Stores Quick Card™. Customers can purchase either a 10 or 25 gal card at any Farm Stores Express Market drive thru. The card provides for discounts, and "family cards" can be added to each account.

Correction

An article in the December 2002 issue of Dairy Foods about the planned merger between HP Hood and National Dairy Holdings incorrectly identified the oil company Hood CEO John Kaneb is associated with. The company is actually Gulf Oil.