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NFPA FILES COMMENTS ON FDA, USDA LABELING PROPOSALS

 NFPA FILES COMMENTS ON FDA, USDA LABELING PROPOSALS
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Food Processors


Association filed 375 pages of comments today on proposed mandatory nutrition labeling rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
 "Our comments request extension of the effective date of FDA's regulations and document the extreme hardship and expense that meeting the six-month deadline set by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act would cause," said NFPA President John R. Cady. He noted that NLEA allows FDA to grant up to one additional year to implement new labeling. "We must take the time to do this right, because consumers will ultimately bear the cost of the changeover," he added.
 Included in NFPA's comments were results of a survey showing that relabeling by the current deadline of May 8, 1993, would cost food companies $3.36 billion just for products regulated by FDA, double the agency's estimate.
 NFPA said nearly 150 billion new packages and labels would need to be printed to comply. "We simply don't have the laboratory capacity to do all the analytical work, nor the printing capacity to prepare that many labels in six months time," Cady said.
 In other comments filed today, NFPA called upon FDA to:
 -- Retain the current food label format, which consumer testing has shown to be effective, since the NLEA does not require any change.
 -- Drop consideration of a proposed requirement that labels declare when any product contains a processed ingredient. NFPA said the fact that a product may contain previously processed ingredients is of no health or scientific significance.
 -- While supporting declaration of total juice content, NFPA said FDA should drop a proposal to require declaration of individual juice percentages for blended juice products because it is unnecessary and potentially confusing to consumers.
 -- Eliminate from the labeling requirements calories from fat, complex carbohydrates, fibers and sugars because they are of no health significance and would be confusing to consumers. Also, NFPA pointed out that no analytical method exists to quantify complex carbohydrates and sugar content of food as proposed by FDA. NFPA said FDA should allow voluntary use of its proposed "nutrition profile" rather than make it mandatory.
 -- Drop an interim rule on cholesterol claims because it is inconsistent with a 1990 FDA Tentative Final Rule on cholesterol descriptors and with the NLEA proposed rulemaking on descriptors.
 -- Drop a proposal to require that the serving size for certain canned vegetables be based on drained weight rather than the net weight of the product, as has been common practice.
 NFPA echoed many of the same points in comments to USDA, and urged the agency to take economic hardship into account and give meat and poultry processors ample time to come into compliance.
 -0- 2/25/92
 /CONTACT: Roger Coleman of the National Food Processors Association, 202-639-5935/ CO: National Food Processor Association ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


MK-SB -- DC035 -- 2513 02/25/92 16:19 EST
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Date:Feb 25, 1992
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