NMPF Supports FDA Proposal to Revoke Heart Health Claim for Soy Protein

NMPF expressed support last month for a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to revoke an authorized health claim that links soy protein with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. In comments to FDA on the health claim proposal, NMPF again urged the agency to take action against plant powder-based food companies that inappropriately use dairy terminology to label imitation dairy products like soy “milk.”

Last fall, FDA announced its intention to revoke the health claim because numerous studies since its original authorization in 1999 have presented “inconsistent findings” regarding the relationship between soy protein and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, lauded FDA for acknowledging the continuing evolution of nutrition science and information.

“New research revealing the lack of heart benefits from soy protein or just as important, a positive effect from dairy fat, means that Americans can make more informed, healthier decisions regarding their diets,” he said.

FDA’s proposed rule comes almost 10 years after the agency initially announced its intent to re-evaluate the science behind the soy protein health claim. During this time, NMPF said, certain soy food companies have used the claim when labeling imitation dairy products, insisting that because of soy’s purported healthful properties, soy “milk” is a healthy alternative to conventional cow’s milk. Not only is this health claim without significant scientific support, based on FDA’s proposed rule, it also blatantly skirts federal regulations on the labeling of dairy foods like “milk,” “cheese” and “yogurt,” said NMPF.

“It is imperative that labels give consumers accurate product information and health claims.  The name of the food also conveys nutrition information,” said NMPF, reiterating its plea for FDA to take enforcement action against such products.