Coca-Cola to FDA: Update your policies to allow firms to fortify healthy carbonated beverages

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Coca-Cola to FDA: Update your policies to allow firms to fortify healthy carbonated beverages
Under the so-called ‘jelly bean rule,’ firms are discouraged from adding vitamins to foods of minimal nutritional value so that marketers cannot present junk foods as healthy options. But the policy should be updated when it comes to carbonated beverages, says Coca-Cola.

In comments to the FDA on its nutrition innovation strategy​, ​the soft drinks giant urged the FDA to “update the fortification policy, which was codified in 1980, to reflect changes in consumers’ dietary patterns and innovation in the marketplace.”

According to 21CFR104.20​ the FDA “does not encourage indiscriminate addition of nutrients to foods, nor does it consider it appropriate to fortify fresh produce; meat, poultry, or fish products; sugars; or snack foods such as candies and carbonated beverages.”

While this is all eminently reasonable, argues Coca-Cola, it “damages our ability to innovate with new carbonated water, tea and juice beverages…"

This isn’t about fortifying sugary sodas…

“To be clear," ​added Coca-Cola, "We do not intend for our comments to imply we are seeking the opportunity to fortify traditional sodas. Our request is for allowing the fortification of some sparkling beverages, not the random fortification of snack foods, or foods and beverages with significant amounts of added sugar…”

One way to make products more enjoyable is to “simply add carbonation to a water, to a juice or tea,​” said the company.

These types of beverages can be beneficial options in a person’s diet, so it is recommended that FDA recognize that the simple addition of carbonation should not prohibit the sale of a product under the fortification guidelines.”

Antioxidant claims should not be limited to substances with established daily values

The FDA should also consider expanding the use of antioxidant claims [which are currently only permitted on substances such as vitamins C and E for which there is an established daily value] to compounds with “substantiated antioxidant activity that do not have an established recommended DV,”​ added Coca-Cola.

“As nutrition science evolves, it is important to allow flexibility to a broader variety of claims which would promote consumption of beneficial compounds.”

  • Read more stakeholder comments on the FDA's nutrition innovation strategy HERE​.

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