Companies may increasingly position functional foods as 'medical foods'
according to Stephen McNamara of US law firm Hyman, Phelps, & McNamara
and a former FDA general counsel. To date, the FDA has been reluctant
to accept structure/function claims on conventional foods, as illustrated
by the agency's reaction to McNeil's Benecol and Lipton's Take Control
margarines. McNamara noted that manufacturers can make health claims
on food labels, as long as their products are formulated for special
medically determined nutrient requirements that cannot be achieved by
normal diet alone. The products must also be labeled 'for use under
medical supervision.' This regulatory strategy may be especially appealing
for foods marketed to high-population patient groups such as those with
heart disease or diabetes. Medical foods could also serve as an intermediate
step before promoting the product to a wider segment of the population,
as in the case of Ross Products' Ensure Beverage.
Nutraceuticals International, October 1999.
© 2003 by Herb Research Foundation,
Boulder, CO, USA.