Entries in Labels (7)


Monster Energy Drinks to List Caffeine Content on Labels

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Monster Beverage Corp. will include caffeine content on its energy drink labels because it no longer wants to be considered a dietary supplement, and instead will adhere to Food and Drug Administration guidelines for conventional foods.

The switch comes after a wrongful death lawsuit filed last fall against Monster Energy, which plagued the company – and the rest of the energy drink industry. It prompted the release of FDA reports that attributed five possible deaths to Monster Energy and another 13 possible deaths to 5-Hour Energy, a 2-ounce energy shot.

"The Company saw no reason to continue being subjected to erroneous and misguided criticism that its Monster Energy drinks are being marketed as dietary substances to avoid FDA regulation," reads a statement from Monster Beverage Corp. sent to ABC News.

The energy drink maker added that remaining a dietary substance would give it a continued competitive disadvantage against Red Bull, the most popular energy drink on the market. As a conventional food, Red Bull can be purchased with food stamps and be exempt from sales taxes. As a dietary substance, Monster Energy cannot.

Monster Energy has also recently joined the American Beverage Association, which recommends labels that list ingredient amounts, the company said in a statement.

It's not clear when the change will take effect, but the company said it will happen "when new packaging is manufactured and new products are introduced."

Companies are free to choose whether they want to market their products as a dietary substance or a conventional food, said FDA spokeswoman Jalil Isa. Different laws apply to each, and the FDA can step in if the product is misrepresented to the public.

"So long as they can meet the rules applicable to each, the companies can position their products in the market how they deem appropriate," Isa said.

Since Monster Energy is currently classified as a dietary substance, it is not limited to the FDA's 200 parts per million caffeine limit on sodas. Coca Cola Classic has 30 to 35 mg of caffeine per 12-ounce can, but 12 ounces of the Monster drink in the wrongful death suit would have contained four times that.

Caffeine amounts do not have to be included in food labels because they are not nutrients, but if caffeine is added to a food, it should be included in the ingredients list.

Monster Energy ingredients will not change, according to the Monster Beverage Corp. statement. However, the statement does not specify whether the amounts of those ingredients will change.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Pfizer Pulls Breast, Colon Health Claims from Centrum Labels

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Pfizer, accused of deceptive advertising, has agreed to remove the "breast health" and "colon health" claims from the labels of Centrum vitamins.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, threatened to sue Pfizer, insisting "those claims of breast and colon health implied that the supplements would prevent breast and colon cancer -- disease prevention claims that supplement manufacturers can't legally make."

"Breast health" and "colon health" appear on different Centrum products.  Other Centrum vitamins have labels claiming they promote "heart health," as well as having wording that implies the vitamins provide an energy boost.

Pfizer also agreed to change the wording on the labels containing the heart and energy claims.  The company will add "Not a replacement for cholesterol-lowering drugs" along with the "heart health" wording.  And on packages with statements about energy, there will be additional information to make it clear that the product does not boost energy.

"For many consumers, a daily multivitamin is an expensive insurance policy to make sure that one's getting the recommended daily amounts of important vitamins and minerals," CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner said in a statement.  "But supplement manufacturers must not mislead consumers into thinking that these pills will help ward off cancer."

Pfizer said in a statement that it disagrees with CSPI, but agreed to make the changes to resolve the matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Truth About Sunscreen: Are Labels Lying?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As summer approaches and Americans head to the beaches for Memorial Day Weekend, people are stocking up on sunscreen to protect their skin. But finding a good sunscreen can be difficult. Walk down the aisle looking to buy sunscreen and you're bombarded with claims such as waterproof, sweat-proof, and protects against skin cancer. The problem, many of those claims are false.

For example, some sunscreen advertises themselves as being waterproof and offering all-day protection. The FDA has labeled both these claims "misleading and false." According to David Andrews of the Environmental Working Group, there's no such thing as waterproof sunscreen at all. No matter what the sunscreen, he told us, "at some point it will rub off and dissolve in to the water."

Some sunscreens also offer broad spectrum protection, a term which seems to indicate that they protect against skin cancer, sunburn and aging. This isn't always the case. Products with SPF 15 or lower may protect against sunburn, but they do not help against wrinkles and skin cancer. In addition, some sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but not UVA. Both types work together to damage the skin.

In 2011 the FDA took action against the sunscreen makers, demanding that they update their labels to reflect these realities. Among other things, the FDA now requires a "test method to demonstrate that a sunscreen product provides "broad spectrum" protection, which is protection against both UVB and UVA radiation." Sunscreen manufacturers were given until this summer to update their labels accordingly.

However, not all companies have been able to comply. The companies argued that they couldn't meet the new regulations in time for this summer, appealing to the FDA for more time. The agency has granted them an extension until December to get their labels into compliance. The FDA defended the decision, telling ABC News, "we think that the data they have submitted does adequately support delaying compliance date," adding, "You are already starting to see some of these new testing and labeling requirements being implemented."

In the meantime, stores are stocked with a mixture of old and new labels, making it difficult to tell what really works.

The FDA says without the delay, there may have been a sunscreen shortage. So consumers can now count on plenty of sunscreen--but just a shade of truth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FDA Adds Stricter Labels to Sunscreen

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- New sunscreen labels will include a rating system to show how well the product protects users against Ultraviolet A (UVA) light, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The agency's latest regulation recommends that sunscreen labeling be expanded to provide a four-star rating system that informs consumers how well the product protects them against UVA light.

Sunscreen labels are already required to carry a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level that informs users how well the product protects against UVB light, which primarily causes sunburn.  Enhanced labeling will focus on UVA light, which is potentially more damaging because it penetrates the skin further than UVB and causes the skin to tan.

Both kinds of UV light contribute to skin damage, including premature skin aging and skin cancer.

The agency is also looking to change the maximum sunburn protection level from its recommended SPF 30 to SPF 50.

The new UVA star rating will be displayed next to the SPF ratings.  One star will mean low UVA protection, while four stars ensure the highest level of protection.

The label will also include ways that people can protect themselves from sun overexposure, such as limiting time in the sun and wearing protective clothing. ´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Activists Protest Delayed Gluten-Free Label Standard 

Peter Dazeley/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Food and Drug Administration has dragged its feet in setting a standard for gluten-free foods, say activists who on Wednesday are assembling a one-ton, 15-foot-high gluten-free cake symbolizing how much their lives depend upon strictly avoiding a protein found in most bakery goods, pasta, beer and even some cold cuts and salad dressings.

Organizers of the Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit in Washington, D.C., want the baked behemoth, assembled by volunteers from 180 half-sheet cakes made with special gluten-free flour in Whole Foods' Gluten-Free Bakehouse, to send a message to Congress and the FDA about the importance of "clear, accurate, reliable labeling" of packaged foods for Americans who must avoid gluten for medical reasons.

They want the FDA to adopt a gluten-free labeling standard that was due in August 2008, under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004. Also overdue: an assessment of the proposed gluten standard of 20 parts per million.

The core constituency for gluten-free eating long has been celiac patients whose immune systems recognize gluten as an invader and unleash attacks on the small intestine, producing diarrhea, abdominal pain, along with fatigue, headaches and joint inflammation. Over time, celiac disease can lead to malnourishment, osteoporosis, neurological conditions, and in rarer cases, infertility or cancer.

Despite the explosion of gluten-free offerings at supermarkets, big-box stores (half of gluten-free shoppers buy their products at Walmart, a February 2011 Packaged Facts report found ), and health food stores, celiac patients still find themselves endlessly double-checking ingredient lists. Many call companies to learn if they've paid meticulous attention to preventing potential cross-contamination in the field, during transportation, during milling, and properly washed down equipment that handles foods containing gluten before they do any gluten-free runs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Study: People Prefer Foods Labeled 'Organic'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As consumers, we like to feel good about the food that we purchase, and that’s why we’ll very often gravitate toward products labeled “organic,” even if we have to pay more for them.

A new study by researchers at Cornell University suggests that people perceive foods with an “organic” label as being lower in fat, higher in fiber, and more nutritious overall than their “non-organic” counterparts.

Nearly 150 participants were asked to compare identical foods that were labeled as either “regular” or “organic.” They were instructed to rate the food for different attributes, such as taste and perception of fat.

Preliminary data showed that those surveyed preferred organically-labeled foods for almost all taste characteristics, and also perceived them to be lower in calories. Additionally, participants said they would be willing to pay more for the “organic” foods than the “regular” items.

Low fat nutrition labels and some fast food restaurants that claim to be healthy have in past studies been shown to mislead customers into underestimating a product’s true calorie count, prompting people to overeat and feel less guilty as they do so.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Some Health Info to Move to Front of Food Packages

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It will soon be easier to make informed choices at the grocery store. The food industry Wednesday announced a commitment to put details about calories and “other nutrients” on the front of food and beverage containers.

Consumers should begin to see new labels in grocery stores early next year, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute.

 “It represents the most significant change to food labels in the United States in nearly twenty years,” said David Mackay, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg Company. 

The announcement comes after a report from the Institute of Medicine found that front-of-package food labels would be “most useful to shoppers if they highlighted four nutrients of greatest concern – calories, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.”

Food and beverage manufacturers and retailers also have agreed to spend $50 million on a consumer education campaign.

The Obama administration has pushed for new labels as part of the first lady’s fight against childhood obesity.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio