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NLEA grows up.

Companies find faster, easier ways to produce nutrition labeling.

Now that the initial questions over labeling mandated by the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act have been answered or forgotten, food companies are getting down to the nitty-gritty business of streamlining the label-making process.

A number of associations and companies have developed databases and accompanying software for use in generating labels, and these databases are getting better and more complete. In fact, the American Institute of Baking's database, which has operated with interim FDA approval since 1993, recently has been accepted by the agency for continuing use.

The AIB database contains nutrition composition for 12,000 brand name, commercially available ingredients. The system uses baker's formulas and processing conditions to calculate the final label statements. Called the Nutrition Labeling Model System, the program serves about 700 baker-members who comply with the nutritional labeling requirements. Many bakeries that could be exempt from NLEA because of their small size use the system anyhow, providing information to their customers. AIB recommends that users periodically review their labels to make sure any changes have not affected the accuracy of the label.

Beyond baking, BatchMaster Software Corp. of Seal Beach, Calif., has developed a PC-based manufacturing software with modules for NLEA labeling, recipe development, inventory, costing and other aspects of new product development. The database accompanying the software includes nutrient content for 4,500 raw materials. Information is derived from the USDA nutrient database. The software generates a "Nutrition Facts" label, and changes as the formula is adjusted. When a desired target value is adjusted, the marked values will change automatically. The firm offers a free demo disc.

Another system, developed by BTG USA Inc. of Gulph Mills, Pa., is marketed under a commercialization agreement with Campbell Institute for Research and Technology (a division of Campbell Soup Co.) of Camden, N.J. The Menu-Scan Nutritional Software and Database reports calorie intake, fat, protein, carbohydrates and alcohol, as well as cholesterol, sodium and a range of vitamin and mineral intakes from foods whose values are stored on the database. Analyses are stored and used to evaluate actual dietary components.

Advanced Software Design's SNAP manufacturing control system 4.0 was written specifically for food and beverage manufacturers, combining formula management, nutrition databasing, nutrition labeling and regulatory compliance. Ingredients are entered by CAS numbers, when applicable, using unit conversions that are user-definable. SNAP provides a comprehensive security system with password protection, and it's transferable to third-party packages, such as Lotus 1,2,3 for accounting functions and costing.

Advanced Software Design, located in Chesterfield, Mo., has designed the system to integrate formulas, costing, inventory and material requirements planning, with a labeling module that permits fast change, in approved format, when product changes are made.

NLEA compliance, according to FDA'ers, is almost universal. But it pays to keep a close eye on labels as ingredient sources change and as formulas are altered for improved acceptance by consumers. Some of the improved databases and software programs simplify the difficulties of translating the product to the label. In many cases, marketers would like a slightly different label statement, and many of these programs can tell the development group just what to do to achieve the objective - and, more importantly, whether the change is feasible at all.
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Title Annotation:companies are finding ways to comply with the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act
Author:Katz, Frances
Publication:Food Processing
Date:Jun 1, 1996
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