CSPI Praises House Action Prohibiting Misleading Health Claims for Foods

Statement of CSPI Legal Affairs Director Bruce Silverglade

August 7, 2007

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) praised action by the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from permitting food companies to make health claims based on preliminary scientific evidence. Research conducted by the FDA itself shows that consumers are misled by such statements, known as “qualified health claims,” because the statements are required to include disclaimers that the FDA believes the scientific evidence supporting them is uncertain.

The House measure is included in legislation that would fund the FDA beginning in October. The provision has to be approved by the Senate in a conference committee that will meet to iron out differences between the House and Senate appropriations bills.

“FDA’s policy permitting qualified health claims is contrary to the agency’s own operating statute which requires that claims be based on significant scientific agreement," said Bruce Silverglade, CSPI's director of legal affairs. "It is entirely appropriate for Congress to restrict funds for a rogue regulatory policy that is contrary to the FDA’s statutory mandate.”

The House action is supported by health, medical and consumer organizations including the American Cancer Society, the American Dietetic Association, the American Public Health Association, the American College of Preventative Medicine, and the Society for Nutrition Education.


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