Time Magazine recently featured an article that looked into the many misconceptions consumers have when it comes to their food being labeled with “sell by,” “best by,” “use by,” etc. Alexandra Sifferlin, in “Foods You Are Probably Throwing Away Too Early” reports, “confusion over expiration dates on food leads more than 90% of Americans to throw out food prematurely, so 40% of the U.S. food supply ends up in the garbage–unused–every year.”
The article covers research done by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic. According to their study, consumers are perplexed with the current state of expiration date markings. To counteract this confusion and to address the amount of wasted food in the US, “the study authors also call for legislation by Congress to develop national standards that would standardize a single set of dating requirements.” Through such an effort, along with a suggestion for more public education, it is hoped that consumers can reduce their amount of food waste without compromising food safety.
In addition to a more well-informed public, any such future legislation may bring about some significant changes in how the food industry does business, too. What will be some of the challenges? How do you see it affecting the way your operation and distribution systems work? Further, what are your thoughts on how the industry might help in finding a mutually beneficial answer to updating and implementing a new, fair food labeling program?
To check out the full article, click here.
“Gluten-Free” might represent a new diet fad to some, but to those that suffer from celiac disease, the label is of the utmost importance. Celiac disease is a digestive condition that can reek havoc on sufferers’ daily lives if gluten finds a way into their diets. To ensure the safety of celiac sufferers, the FDA has stepped in to regulate gluten-free claims on food packaging.
According to an FDA News Release: “This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of ‘gluten-free’ claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term ‘gluten-free’ on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims ‘no gluten,’ ‘free of gluten,’ and ‘without gluten’ to meet the definition for ‘gluten-free.’”
The new regulation seeks to prevent erroneous claims leveled by companies looking to take advantage of the current popularity of gluten-free diets in the United States. Essentially, those with severe allergies to gluten will be protected, along with those voluntarily cutting gluten out of their diets. Both groups can count on this standardization to take effect in the not-too-distant future. Krystal Gabert of foodmanufacturing.com reports that: “Food manufacturers now have one year to achieve compliance before the full weight of the regulation is enforceable.”
If you are a producer of gluten-free products, the new regulation will be of obvious concern. Remember that Nelson-Jameson can be of help in keeping your quality operation compliant and ready for the change. Check out our gluten allergen test kit. The kit allows you to test your products on-site for gluten, helping your operation get in line to operate within the new FDA standard. For more information on allergen test kits, see our website or call 800-826-8302.
For more information on gluten and celiac disease, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation website or Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) website.