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Food packaging: Some diet foods are found to exaggerate calorie and fat claims on labels

On a recent TODAY Show segment, NBC’s Jeff Rossen was interviewed by Matt Lauer about diet foods. A number of popular frozen diets foods were tested to determine if their fat and calorie content matched what the manufacturers reported on the food packaging labels.

As reported on the TODAY Show the results from EMSL’s food testing laboratory showed packaging claims to vary widely. While some frozen diet foods showed levels of fat or calories as much as 60% below what was reported on the labeling others were as high as 350% above what was listed on the packaging.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows manufacturers to be as much as 20% off of what is listed on the food packaging label. According to the FDA website, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. This applies to foods produced domestically, as well as foods from foreign countries.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act are the Federal laws governing food products under FDA’s jurisdiction.” It goes on to state, “The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which amended the FD&C Act requires most foods to bear nutrition labeling and requires food labels that bear nutrient content claims and certain health messages to comply with specific requirements.”

EMSL Analytical, a leading food and consumer products testing laboratory, provides food testing services for the food processing industry and the general public. “Ensuring that customers are getting what the food packaging labels claim is governed by the FDA,” stated Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President for EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL Analytical can help food manufacturers, processors and distributors ensure that not only are the food labels accurate, but also that the ingredients claimed to be in a product actually exist.”

SOURCE: EMSL Analytical, Inc.


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