FDA Continues Clamp-down on Antioxidant Claims

September 9, 2010

By Ricardo Carvajal

In late August, FDA issued warning letters to Unilever and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group objecting to the use of unauthorized nutrient content claims for antioxidants in the labeling of certain products containing green tea.  Similar warning letters addressing other types of products with antioxidant claims have been issued in the past year, but none previously to large manufacturers. 

Of special interest, FDA concludes that green tea and green tea flavonoids “are not nutrients with recognized antioxidant activity,” and that “flavonoids” cannot properly be the subject of a nutrient content claim.  In addition, FDA restates its position that it is inappropriate to fortify snack foods such as carbonated beverages – an issue the agency addressed last year in a warning letter to Coca-Cola for its Diet Coke Plus – see our previous post here.  

FDA is increasing scrutiny of nutrient content claims, which are generally preferred by both manufacturers and consumers for their short, punchy nature.  These latest warning letters serve as additional reminders that such claims must be formulated with care.

Correction: In our earlier posting on FDA's clamp-down on antioxidant claims, we missed a gaffe on FDA's website and erroneously stated that one of the warning letters was issued to Cadbury Adams. In fact, the letter was issued to the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The posting has been corrected.

Categories: Foods