During the annual convention of the National Association of Flavors & Food-Ingredient Systems, Christine Daley (AromaLink), 2014 NAFFS convention chair, was officially appointed president. In the main session, Patrick McNamara (Scarinci Hollenbeck) discussed various legal issues facing the food and flavor industry, including: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label, which include a revised serving size requirement and new labeling rules for certain package sizes, as well as an updated design; Cargill’s challenge to Truvia’s natural status and PopChips’ court settlement over its use of the term “all natural,” illustrating that companies are being targeted for the natural term and may step away from such claims in the future; the FDA’s gluten-free limit of less than 20 ppm of gluten, adherence to which may not shield manufacturers from gluten-free challenges in court; and action against J.M. Smucker Co. products containing hydrogenated oils and trans fats. The scrutiny of flavors and food products is greater than ever.
Meanwhile, said McNamara, the FDA has proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, which would likely take effect in 2015 and treat e-cigarettes similar to conventional tobacco products. E-cigarettes are often flavored and so, like flavored hooka and novelty cigar products, they are facing scrutiny for the flavor materials contained therein. McNamara reiterated that the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) has consistently explained that GRAS (generally recognized as safe) flavors for foods and beverages are not assessed for use in e-cigarettes.
“E-cigarette manufacturers should not represent or suggest that the flavor ingredients used in their products are safe because they have FEMA GRAS status for use in food because such statements are false and misleading,” FEMA noted in an April 2014 communique.