Posted on November 13, 2013 by ePerspective
To many the proposed FDA rule to deny GRAS status to partially hydrogenated oil—and thereby in effect banning it from use—would be a great public health benefit. However, this proposed rule is not without consequences to many individuals, so it is critical that this decision is made carefully.
The FDA and others have stated that further decreases in trans fatty acid consumption could decrease thousands of cardiac events and deaths. These calculations of saving lives by further lowering trans fatty acid consumption assume that the biological effects of trans fatty acid follow a dose dependent linear response. Unfortunately, the pharmokinetics of the biological effects of trans fatty acids are difficult if not impossible to confirm since most studies that show adverse effects of trans fatty acids had to use dietary trans levels in excess of 5% of total energy. FDA has calculated that trans fatty acid consumption of partially hydrogenated oils has decreased from 4.6 g per day in 2003 to 1.3 g per day (2.1 to 0.6% of total energy) in 2010. It is very common for kinetics to not be linear especially at extremely low or high concentrations of bioactive agents. Therefore, it does not seem scientifically prudent to make a bold statement of how many deaths a food ingredient is causing without any clinical data. Keep Reading
Filed under: Bakery, Product development, Public Policy & Regulations | Tagged: bakery, Eric Decker, formulation, policy, trans fats | 14 Comments »
Posted on October 10, 2013 by ePerspective
The partial U.S. government shutdown, now in its second week, has already started affecting the operations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hardest hit are the FDA operations related to foods. Consequently, food importers, retailers, and consumers should be concerned.
The shutdown will have lesser effects, at least in the short-term, on the FDA divisions that deal with human drugs, animal drugs, medical devices, and tobacco, as each of these divisions collects some type of user fees, giving those divisions a buffer when government funding is unavailable, as is the case during the shutdown. Keep Reading
Filed under: Food Safety, Public Policy & Regulations, Recalls | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 1, 2013 by ePerspective
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill, November 1942
On Tuesday, June 11, the Senate passed S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013, by a vote of 66 to 27. Although there were 260 amendments filed to the bill, only a few dozen were actually considered. This agreement also precluded Democrats and Republicans from crafting a package of amendments that could be made to the bill prior to final passage.
Farm bill action moved to the House the week of June 16. The House bill had savings in the food stamp program of $20 billion over the next 10 years, up from $16 billion in last year’s bill. On Thursday, June 21, the House voted to defeat the farm bill by a vote of 195 to 234 for the first time in history. It was the victim of continued divisions over food stamp cuts and the shape of future agriculture subsidies. Keep Reading
Filed under: Public Policy & Regulations | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 6, 2013 by ePerspective
Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final ruling in a case involving POM Wonderful LLC, determining that certain ads for its juice products made misleading claims about the drink’s health benefits. This case has implications beyond the immediate effects on the company involved. The decision will affect a wide swath of the food and beverage industries by further tightening the criteria that will be required to sustain claims that a given product treats a disease. The FTC said that the claims in the instant case must be backed by two randomized, controlled clinical trials. These are essentially the same criteria employed by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in assessing new drugs. Keep Reading
Filed under: Beverages, Food Health & Nutrition, Public Policy & Regulations, Sales & Marketing | 4 Comments »
Posted on November 14, 2012 by ePerspective
On Nov. 6, California voters defeated Proposition 37 (53.1% to 46.9%), “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” requiring label disclosure of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If passed, the proposition would have prohibited GMO food and other processed food from being labeled “natural.” Keep Reading
Filed under: GM Crops, Public Policy & Regulations | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 10, 2012 by ePerspective
The U.S. Senate and U.S. House Committee on Agriculture have passed their respective versions of the 2012 Farm Bill, but the legislation is stranded, and the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2012. Here is a summary report on the current state of play and practical implications of the 2008 Farm Bill expiration. Keep Reading
Filed under: Agriculture, Public Policy & Regulations | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 8, 2012 by ePerspective
The House and Senate Agricultural Committee Leadership—Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Colin Petersen (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabinow (D-Mich.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)—are frustrated. Most House agricultural committee members want to keep farm subsidies as large as possible, but many other representatives are concerned about wasteful spending and unusually willing to interfere in the Committee’s business. So the current state of Farm Bill 2012 play is straightforward: everything up in the air. Keep Reading
Filed under: Agriculture, Public Policy & Regulations | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 22, 2012 by ePerspective
There has been much discussion on the proposal to ban large (>16 oz.) serving sizes of non-diet soft drinks in New York City. I am glad it has people talking about the problem of obesity, but I am not sure this policy is the best approach on balance. My colleagues and I examined the available studies published as of 2010 that might indicate whether such a policy would have the desired effect (Mattes et al., 2010).We found five randomized, controlled studies that had attempted to determine whether asking people to reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs, of all types, including soft drinks) would result in weight loss. In people who are already overweight, it appears that there is a very small mean effect in weight reduction, although it is not statistically significant when looking at the range of effects in the whole sample. Keep Reading
Filed under: Beverages, Food Health & Nutrition, Public Policy & Regulations | 4 Comments »
Posted on April 5, 2012 by ePerspective
There has been a lot of media attention given to a product that is unfamiliar to most consumers, even though they have been eating it for the last 20 years. Lean finely textured beef, known by the derogatory term “pink slime,” has come to mean many things to many people. And as is often the case with something unfamiliar, people sometimes jump to conclusions that are based on incomplete facts.
Filed under: Food Health & Nutrition, Food safety & defense, Labeling, muscle foods, Public Policy & Regulations | 8 Comments »
Posted on February 17, 2012 by ePerspective
America’s history includes a rich tradition of agricultural productivity, and we have all benefited from it. Agricultural laws and policies have supported that productivity, recognizing the special attributes of agricultural production and the public interest involved in promoting food security.
Along the way, however, public interest has often taken a back seat to special interest. Farm policy has driven food policy, and farmers have been encouraged to farm in ways that are not sustainable, sometimes producing crops that do not contribute to our health, preserve our environment, or strengthen our regional economies. Keep Reading
Filed under: Agriculture, Food Health & Nutrition, Public Policy & Regulations | Leave a Comment »