Health Claims-Structure Function Claims

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 7:39 PM

The FDA is responsible for the safety of all dietary supplements and processed foods that are sold, (except meat, poultry, and eggs). The FDA is also responsible for monitoring the claims that are placed on the labels of foods sold in the stores. Manufacturers like to make extra claims on their labels for added purchase power. Everyone likes to think that what they are buying is going to benefit their health in some way. Just like when purchasing new cars, you like to think you are getting the better gas mileage one for todays oil crisis. Are you really getting what you are paying for? A question the average person is not going to know unless they do the proper research. Actual Health Claims are those that are made to ensure the buyer of supported evidence behind the claims. Health Claims do actual scientific research, which allows them to market phrases such as: "May reduce the risk of heart disease." Note the difference from the Structure Function Claim, which may not include any mention of disease or symptom, this claim would be illegal. Reason being is that the Structure Function Claim is not required to provide any scientific evidence to support the claim. So what might be seen is this: "Promotes a healthy heart." The two are similar in the verbage and direction. Both are trying to persuade the buyer into the purchase of a product with the thought of heart health involved. Only one actually does give reason to believe the claim. Point being is that "Greenwashing" or persuasion by the producer to try to sell their product is everywhere. Making it sound as a health solution, only when trying to compete with those who are actually beneficial. Don't be fooled. Your health and familys' health are the two most important components in a persons life. Don't let greenwashing 'buy you in' to false advertising. Do the research. Some sites to check out for more information on the guidelines of the USDA and what to look for is (http://www.healthfinder.gov/), and (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/).

Steven Campbell

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