Friday, October 14, 2011

US businesses face rude shock as EU health claims laws loom

US businesses face rude shock as EU health claims laws loom:

US companies need to get up to speed with European Union health claim changes or face big hits on existing trade or missed opportunities, according to the chief of a leading UK supplements group.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

US FDA, multilaterals team up for product safety

From the time you take your morning vitamin until you brush your teeth at night, U.S. consumers use many products imported from other countries. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 40% of fresh produce are imported into the United States. Sometimes products may contain only one ingredient or component part from another country, while other times the entire product may come from one or many countries.

Because the neighborhood grocery and corner drug store are now global marketplaces, the FDA ensures the safety and effectiveness of products sold domestically by working through multilateral organizations to improve cooperation and collaboration with other countries. Multilateral organizations are groups of more than two countries banded together to work on specific issues. Participation in these groups offers the FDA opportunities to expand reach and increase knowledge.

The FDA is working with three multilateral organizations on projects that aim to improve food safety, as well as the safety of medical products for people and animals. FDA's partners are:

• World Health Organization (WHO)—The FDA has given WHO nearly $400,000 to help develop a plan for a global information system to make it easier to share information on food safety problems, including contamination that leads to a product recall.
• Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)—The FDA, through a $904,000 award, is helping PAHO develop an information hub for the Americas through which countries in the region can share data, standards, and guidelines for regulators. FDA has also worked with PAHO to establish technical standards for drugs and biologics in the Americas.
• World Organization for Animal Health—With a grant of $565,000, the FDA is aiding the World Organization for Animal Health in its effort to strengthen agencies that regulate veterinary medical products.
Through its work with multilateral organizations and the FDA's own international offices, the agency is supporting efforts to strengthen regulatory agencies in developing nations and create internationally accepted standards of safety, efficacy, and quality.

More information is available here.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Health Canada's Proposed Approach to Managing Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Health Canada has proposed regulations for energy drinks intended to prevent overconsumption of caffeine and other ingredients such as vitamins. The proposed change would require most energy drinks to be labeled with nutrition information, including the amount of caffeine in the product, and to identify groups for whom high levels of caffeine are not recommended, such as children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The proposed measures would also limit the amount of caffeine in energy drinks to 180mg per serving – about the amount in an average cup of coffee. They would require manufacturers to ensure that types and levels of vitamins are within safe limits, and to add a warning advising not to mix the product with alcohol.
"The growth of energy drink consumption in recent years has resulted in higher levels of caffeine consumption among younger people than has previously been the case," Health Canada said. "…Canadians tend to think of and consume energy drinks not as health products but as soft drinks. Health Canada's proposals will assess the safety of these products according to how they are consumed to provide the best protection for Canadian consumers."

Health Canada is accepting comments on the proposed regulatory changes until November 15. More information and details of how to submit comments are available here.  Hat tip to Caroline Scott-Thomas, Canada outlines proposed regulations for energy drinks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Denmark introduces world's first food fat tax

The BBC reports that Denmark has introduced what is believed to be the world's first fat tax—a surcharge on foods that are high in saturated fat. Butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil, and processed food are now subject to the tax if they contain more than 2.3% saturated fat. Danish officials say they hope the new tax will help limit the population's intake of fatty foods. However, some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target. They say salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates are more detrimental to health and should be tackled instead.