Nestle Receives 2 Warnings on Kids' Beverages

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Dec 23 2009 - 12:13pm

The Food and Drug Administration has presented Nestle with 2 separate warning letters that the company made unauthorized nutrient content claims about some of their products marketing for children.

On December 3, the FDA said that Nestle’s Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink was promoted as a medical food but did not meet the requirements for that type of claim. This product is marketed by the Nestle Healthcare Nutrition division, which also markets Boost Nutritional Beverages for adults. The FDA also states that the company website makes drug-like claims by suggesting that the product is intended for the use in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, which violates federal marketing laws.

By law, as part of the Orphan Drug Act, a medical food is “a food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.” Conditions that would meet this requirement include failure to thrive, injury or wound healing, or as a supplement to increase nutrition related to a chronic illness.

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A spokesman for the Healthcare Nutrition division has said that Nestle “does not consider the retail version of Boost Kid Essentials to be a medical food.”

In a separate letter on December 4th, the FDA said that Nestle made unauthorized nutrient claims regarding its Juicy Juice Brain Development Fruit Beverages and Juicy Juice All-Natural 100% Juice. In April, when the company launched the Juicy Juice Brain Development beverages, the company claimed that the beverages help “support brain development” because it contains DHA that acts as a building block for brain development during the period of rapid brain growth between 1 and 2 years of age.

The agency also said that the company used the statement “no sugar added” and is “naturally lower in sugar”, another claim that cannot be used for foods intended for children under the age of 2. The nutrition label shows that the juices are made from juice concentrate with “other natural flavors and added ingredients.”

Pam Krebs, a spokeswoman for Nestle Beverage, confirmed the company had received the letter on the Juicy Juice products. "We are intending to fully cooperate with the FDA in bringing this matter to a conclusion," she said. Nestle has 15 days from the receipt of the letter to bring the marketing into compliance with federal laws.

The FDA is increasing its enforcement of unauthorized health claims since Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and Deputy Joshua Sharfstein has taken over the leadership of the agency. Earlier this year, the FDA warned General Mills about the claim that Cheerios is clinically proven to lower cholesterol.

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