First Juice Inc., Randolph, N.J., is among 17 food and beverage companies to receive a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in late February requesting changes on product packaging. First Juice offers organic, lower-sugar, fruit and vegetable juice blends for young children. The company’s claims of "50 percent less sugar" and "Excellent source of vitamins A and C" are not permitted on products intended for children under age two, the FDA letter states.
The veracity of the claims is not being challenged; rather, current regulations disallow claims other than a percentage of the recommended daily intake of key vitamins on products for children under age two, First Juice says.
David Glasser, First Juice’s founder and chief executive officer said, in a statement: "We intend to cooperate with the FDA and will formally request a review of the regulations that prohibit us from stating '50 percent less sugar' on our labels. Specifically, we believe that sugar is not a 'nutrient' and should be permitted as an exception from regulations governing 'nutrient' claims. Permitting label claims such as '50 percent less sugar' on beverages for children under age two clearly serves the best interests of parents and their children."
Glasser believes that current regulations should be updated to allow innovative new beverages to accurately convey their lower-sugar nutrition profile to parents.
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