Welcome to the latest edition of Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C.’s (“HP&M”) monthly wrap up of food, beverage and supplement news, including regulations, guidances, events, and whatever else is catching our eye.
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Food & Beverage
- Traceability: The Food & Beverage Issues Alliance requested a comment extension for FDA’s recently published rule on traceability. The comment period currently ends on January 21, 2021. The FDA also released additional resources, including a tool to help determine which foods to include on the Food Traceability List.
- Rarely Consumed Raw: FDA has extended the comment period until January 8, 20201 on its RFI for rarely consumed raw products which are exempt from the Produce Safety Rule.
- Laboratories of Democracy, Part I: Remember last year when Illinois passed a law requiring sesame labeling? The FDA issued draft guidance on voluntary disclosure of sesame as an allergen, recommending that manufacturers clearly declare sesame in the ingredient list when it is used in foods as a “flavor” or “spice”, among other things. Comments are due by January 11, 2021.
- Laboratories of Democracy, Part II: On October 27, 2020, the New York State Department of Health issued proposed regulations regarding cannabinoid hemp products. These proposed regulations (availablehere) are open for public commentary until January 11, 2021. Check out our colleague’s post here.
- Less Sugar: NAD recently concluded that Chobani’s unqualified “45% less sugar than other yogurts” claim could reasonably convey a misleading message to consumers about the amount of sugar in “other yogurts” as it might imply that “other yogurts” include products that use non-nutritive sweeteners.
- Cancer Warnings on Alcoholic Beverages: Several public health and consumer group advocates filed a Petitionwith TTB requesting that the warning be updated to include a statement that alcohol consumption is linked to cancer. Check out Riëtte’s post here.
- Festivus for the Rest of Us: Check out Karin’s post on how to air grievances with the new administration and stay within the boundaries of the antitrust laws.
- GE Salmon Approval Stands: In long-running litigation over FDA’s approval of AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon, a federal court remanded the case to FDA for reconsideration of the agency’s environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. However, the court declined to vacate the agency’s approval on the ground that “the disruptive consequences of vacatur would outweigh the seriousness of the agency’s errors.”
- Boring but Important: Don’t forget to renew your food establishment registration.
- Earnings and Health-Related Claims Draw Fire: The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council took issue with certain earnings claims and also weight loss and other health-related claims made by LurraLife, LLC. The company agreed to discontinue some claims, modify others, and take other compliance-related measures.
- Sport Supplement Company Pleads Guilty to Felony: The Department of Justice announced that a sports supplement company and its owner pleaded guilty to “distributing unapproved new drugs with the intent to mislead and defraud” FDA and consumers – a felony. The products contained selective androgen receptor modulators, and the product labels omitted certain ingredients and were misrepresented as dietary supplements.
Some Things We Are Monitoring:
- 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines: Still expected by year end.
- A hemp case where HIA and RE Botanicals filed a lawsuit against the DEA in the D.D.C., seeking a declaration that the definition of hemp in Section 1639o, includes “intermediate hemp material” (IHM) and “waste hemp material” (WHM) and that the THC in IHM and WHM is not a controlled substance. You can read about that litigation in our colleagues’ post.
- FTC’s 13(b) Disgorgement: Scheduled for a Supreme Court argument on January 13, 2021. The FTC recently filed their brief.