Despite Gottlieb’s Exit, FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy Marches Forward
As previously reported on this blog, FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy (NIS) is intended to improve public health via education regarding, and encouraging innovation in, the use of nutrition to promote health. The NIS was initiated under the leadership of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Areas of emphasis are modernizing the approach to label claims, modernizing standards of identity, modernizing ingredient labels, and the use of healthy symbols. FDA held a public meeting on July 26, 2018 to discuss and solicit public input regarding the NIS. Our analysis of the comment submissions can be found here.
With the impending departure of Dr. Scott Gottlieb as FDA Commissioner, in recent comments at the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Science Forum, Claudine Kavanaugh, senior advisor for nutrition policy at FDA’s Office of Food Policy and Response made clear, “We are going to keep moving forward on the innovation strategy. There are no changes.” Ned Sharpless will carry forward the initiative as the recently-named Acting FDA Commissioner.
As for next steps, Kavanaugh specifically highlighted modernizing claims, including the term “healthy,” where FDA is planning to publish a proposed rule this year updating the term and including a potential symbol to represent it. In addition, Kavanaugh noted the agency’s work to modernize the standard of identities (SOI), specifically mentioning the SOI for cheddar cheese as a focus moving forward. Kavanaugh also said the Agency is looking to reevaluate how ingredient information is presented on food labels and will roll out an education campaign to raise awareness for the new Nutrition Facts label.