CFSAN News for Educators

CFSAN News for Educators

July/August 2014

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Upcoming Events

International Association
for Food Protection

August 3 - 6, 2014
Indianapolis, IN

American Association
of Diabetes Educators
Annual Meeting

August 6 - 9, 2014
Orlando, FL

Academy of Nutrition and
Dietetics’ Food & Nutrition
Conference & Expo (FNCE)

October 18 - 21, 2014
Atlanta, GA

American Academy
of Family Physicians

October 21 - 25, 2014
Washington, DC

American Public Health

November 15 - 19, 2014
New Orleans, LA

National Science Teachers
Association (NSTA)
Regional Conference

December 4 - 6, 2014
Long Beach, CA

Consumer Food Safety
Education Conference

December 4 - 5, 2014
Arlington, VA

Image of Media-Smart Youth logoThe National Institutes of Health has recently released an upgraded version of the Media-Smart Youth program, available free to educators and other community leaders. This interactive curriculum is designed to help youth ages 11 to 13 better understand the complex media world around them and how it can influence their health. For more information, visit the Media-Smart Youth website disclaimer icon.

Summertime Spotlights

Welcome to CFSAN’s News for Educators – the at-a-glance bi-monthly e-news from FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). This issue covers such topics as safe consumption of nutritious seafood; FDA’s final rule on gluten-free labeling; and sunless tanners and bronzers as options for achieving a summer glow. Don’t miss the current list of upcoming meetings and events from FDA!

We encourage you to share this newsletter. Invite your colleagues to sign up for future issues.

FDA and EPA Issue Draft Updated Advice for Fish Consumption

Image of fish and Seafood for sale at a marketFish contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, are mostly low in saturated fat, and some fish even contain vitamin D. Emerging science indicates that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on these important nutrients that have a positive impact on growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, and in childhood. As a result, FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are issuing draft updated advice encouraging pregnant women, those who might become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and young children to eat more fish—and to eat a variety of fish lower in mercury. Here’s how:

  • Eat 8 to 12 Ounces of Fish/Shellfish Per Week. (That’s 2 or 3 servings of fish a week.) Give young children 2 to 3 servings of fish a week with the portion right for the child’s age and calorie needs.
  • Choose Fish That Are Lower in Mercury. Many of the most commonly eaten fish arelower in mercury, such as salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish and cod.
  • Avoid 4 Types of Fish: tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish and king mackerel. These fish are highest in mercury. Limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces a week.
  • Pay attention to fish advisories when eating fish you or others have caught from streams, rivers, and lakes, on those bodies of water. If advice isn’t available, adults should limit consumption of these fish to 6 ounces a week and young children to 1 to 3 ounces a week, and not eat other fish that week.
  • When adding more fish to your diet, be sure to stay with your calorie needs.

Online Resource:

Consumers are encouraged to learn more about FDA’s draft updated seafood consumption recommendations, and invited to comment.

Gluten-Free Labeling

Image of Gluten free labelAs of August 5, 2014, FDA’s new definition for “gluten-free” must be used by food manufacturers who choose to label foods as “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “no gluten.” FDA issued a regulation in August of 2013, giving manufactures one year to make changes in the formulation or labeling of the foods bearing a gluten-free claim. Consumers with celiac disease can now have confidence in the meaning of a “gluten-free” label on foods. Here’s why this new labeling is important for those with celiac disease:

  • Gluten is a naturally occurring protein. It is found in wheat, rye, barley, and crossbreeds of these grains. Gluten is the ingredient that gives foods, such as breads, cakes, cereals, and pastas, their shape, strength, and texture. But for someone suffering from celiac disease, consuming gluten can have serious and potentially life-threatening health consequences.

  • Celiac Disease is a Chronic Illness: As many as 3 million Americans may have celiac disease – an inherited, chronic, inflammatory auto-immune digestive disorder. When someone afflicted with celiac disease consumes gluten, his/her body’s natural defense system triggers the production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This damage limits the ability to absorb nutrients and can lead to other very serious health problems.

  • FDA’s Definition of “Gluten-Free”: FDA has set as part of its definition for “glutenfree” a gluten limit of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) for foods that carry the label “gluten-free.” This level is the lowest that can be consistently detected in foods. Also, most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten. Before the regulation, there were no federal standards or definitions for the U.S. food industry to use in labeling products “gluten-free.” An estimated 5 percent of foods currently labeled “gluten-free” contain 20 ppm or more of gluten.

Online Resource:

Encourage consumers to learn more about gluten-free labeling and FDA’s Final Rule.

Sunless Tanners and Bronzers: A “UV-Free” Option

Image of self-tanning spray on arm.For many warm weather lovers, summertime conjures up thoughts of attaining a “healthy glow.” But today, it’s possible to achieve a tanned appearance without having to go out in the sun (or use tanning beds). Sunless tanners and bronzers, which are regulated by FDA as cosmetics, offer alternatives for getting a sun-kissed appearance without the sun. “Sunless tanners” include ingredients like dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that darken skin by reacting with amino acids of proteins present in the skins surface. A “bronzer” is typically more temporary, like a tinted moisturizer or brush-on powder that washes off. (Note: Remind consumers that the sun has ultraviolet [UV] rays that can harm skin during any outdoor activity; so, for outdoor protection, they should always use a sunscreen product. These are regulated by FDA as drugs.) For consumers interested in sunless tanners and bronzers, offer these important tips:

  • Read Product Labels Carefully. Some sunless tanners and bronzers may provide protection from the sun – but only if the product contains sunscreens as active ingredients and has a sun protection factor (“SPF”). Check the label to be sure. If a self-tanner or bronzer does not offer sun protection, it must have a warning on the label regarding the risk of skin aging, skin cancer, and other harmful effects caused by unprotected exposure to the sun.

  • Be Safe in Tanning Booths. By law, color additives need FDA approval, and FDA has approved the use of DHA as a color additive for external use only. So, remember to ask safety questions when considering a commercial tanning booth with sprays or mists that contain DHA. Confirm that you will have protection from product exposure for your entire eye area and for lips and other mucous membranes, as well as from inhaling or ingesting the product during the spraying/misting process.

  • If going outdoors, use sunscreen faithfully. Sunscreens can lower your risk of skin cancer or skin damage. The sun has ultraviolet (UV) rays that can harm skin during any outdoor activity, so wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher every day. Unlike self-tanners and bronzers, sunscreens are regulated as a drug by FDA.

Online Resource:

Encourage your constituents to learn more about sunless tanning options and the safety of these products. In addition, recommend that they review safe sun and tanning practices for more about broad spectrum UV protection.

For More Information


Page Last Updated: 07/30/2014
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