FDA Threatens to Yank Food Products off Shelves

The US Food and Drug Administration has told 17 food manufacturers to remove misleading labels from their products–or risk having those products pulled from shelves. ABC has more:

The FDA said Wednesday that its commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, had sent letters to each company in question Feb. 22, along with an open letter to the food manufacturing industry demanding they take action against “false or misleading” labels.

“FDA is notifying a number of manufacturers that their labels are in violation of the law and subject to legal proceedings to remove misbranded products from the marketplace,” Hamburg said in the letter, which is posted on the FDA Web site.

“Products also were identified that made nutrient content claims about one nutrient, such as trans fats, but failed to identify other nutrients, such as saturated fat, which were present in the products at very high levels.” One tactic companies use to avoid accusations of mislabeling, Silverglade said, is using broad, sometimes confusing terms. “The companies try to get around the rules by using vague terminology such as ‘helps support your immune system’ or ‘heart healthy.’ These claims are not reviewed by the FDA and are confusing customers.”

If companies such as Nestle and Beech-Nut do not comply, the FDA warned, the products could be removed from the shelves.

Products include Nestle’s Juicy Juice and Gerber brands, Sunsweet dried fruit, Diamond walnuts, and Dreyers ice cream. Here’s a full list of products.

This kind of regulation could be a new trend, according to BNET:

Some activists claim the agency is just getting started. “The party’s over for misleading health claims,” Bruce Silverglade, legal affairs director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a conference call with journalists. CPSI has been harping about exaggerated food claims for years

CSPI has conveniently provided the FDA with a long list of food claims it deems illegal or deceptive. Among them: Carnation Instant Breakfast that supports your immune system, packages of Graduates Juice Treats for preschoolers that show a harvest of fruit but contains almost no actual fruit juice, and Minute Maid’s Cranberry Apple Cocktail, which says it’s all natural but contains high fructose corn syrup.

Let the editing begin.