Before the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare: Infant and Junior Foods Establishment of Common or Usual Name

by William Lilley on October 13, 1976
by William Lilley, Bruce Yandle, James C. Miller and Peter H. Lowry

The Council on Wage and Price Stability (Council) hereby submits its comments on two regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding ingredient labeling of infant food:
(1) Infant and Junior Foods, Establishment of Common or Usual Name (41 FR 37593, September 7, 1976), and

(2) Infant Food, Percentage Declaration of Ingredients (41 FR 37595, September 7, 1976) .

Both regulations relate to percentage ingredient labeling of baby food and are proposed by FDA in response to a single petition which requests that FDA require manufacturers to give more information (and, originally, more accurate information) on baby food labels.

The first rule concerns an ingredient which characterizes a product. In the words of the proposal, this is ” … any ingredient(s) or component(s) of a food the proportion of which has a material bearing on price or consumer acceptance. An ingredient or component may also
be characterizing if the labeling or the appearance of the food may otherwise create an erroneous impression that such ingredient(s) or component(s) is present in amounts greater than is actually the case.”

The petitioner requested an expansion of this definition to include all ingredients present in the product in amounts equal to or greater than the named principal ingredient. However, FDA has indicated that in their opinion the consumer is interested principally in the ingredient associated with the name of the food product. For example, “egg yolk” may be the name of the product and would thus be the principal or characterizing ingredient even though water or some other ingredient constituted a larger proportion of the product. We concur with FDA’s suggestion that consumers make value comparisons on the basis of the named ingredient’s percentage of the product.

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