FSMA Bill Introduced to the House and Senate

The Food Safety Modernization Act has been introduced to the House and Senate in updated form. The bill was originally drafted in 2018 and designed to help consumers make more informed purchases. In its current form, the bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to a single standard front of pack nutrition labeling scheme that clearly distinguishes between products of greater or lesser nutritional value. This would involve warning symbols for products high in fat or salt and some type of ranking system indicating the nutritional value of products. The bill also addresses the murky term “natural” which is probably one of the most contentious terms in the food world and has become a marketing term. The FDA has been probing the concept of natural since 2015 and received an avalanche of comments on this. While the FSMA bill does not define natural, it does instruct the HHS Secretary to conduct consumer surveys and review research with respect to consumer understanding of natural, particularly in terms of organic.

The current FSMA bill also addresses the issue of clear portion sizes as well as associated claims. The new bill also requires ingredient, nutritional and allergen information for grocery products to be posted online. The bill also sets guidelines for use of the term “healthy” as well as some standards around sugar, salt and caffeine content.

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Posted on 9 September 2021