The US National Food Processors Association (NFPA) has urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide flexibility for making qualified health claims or dietary guidance statements on food labels.

In comments submitted to the FDA, the NFPA said it was encouraged by the FDA's initiative to accommodate qualified health claims on food labels, but said the administration should provide clear guidelines on the issue.

 "A clear yet flexible framework should be developed to address these types of statements, so that companies may explore the food label communications opportunities offered by such statements in clarity and with confidence," said John R. Cady, president and CEO of the NFPA. 

Regina Hildwine, the NFPA's senior director of food labeling and standards, said the FDA should establish a framework for a qualified health claims system that emphasises the substantiation of the actual claim to be expressed.

"This approach is consistent with the implementation of policy to accommodate qualified health claims.  NFPA further believes that dietary guidance statements should be differentiated clearly from health claims, so that food companies may have a thorough understanding of what types of statements may require prior consideration by FDA," Hildwine added.