Consumers Want Independent Low-Carb Certification

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In the absence of guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration for the labeling of low-carb foods, consumers have been left to wonder if label claims are accurate. Independent testing and certification offers them a way to distinguish those foods low in carbohydrate and a certification seal is now available.

In the absence of guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration for the labeling of low-carb foods, consumers have been left to wonder if label claims are accurate. For months, the debate has raged within the industry about "net carb" calculations for everything from sugar alcohols to fiber, with no clear answers for consumers.

"Consumers are confused and getting wary of low-carb claims that have no solid definition," said Andrea Mondello of http://www.LowCarbEating.com. "A testing protocol, administered independently by a non-profit organization, will provide consumers with the confidence to trust label claims. This is the direction in which the industry needs to go, and something consumers deserve."

The Carbohydrate Awareness Council (CAC) and the Glycemic Research Institute (GRI) recently released information about certification seals available for foods, restaurant meals and raw material ingredients. Consumers will be able to judge foods for their carbohydrate content claims as the seal becomes out-licensed in the coming months. The Carb-Approved Food Certification Seal will allow consumers to distinguish foods tested and verified as truly low in carbohydrate content because the seal limits carbohydrate to 5-grams or less per serving.

"For months we've heard from consumers and the message is clear - they want a way to quickly identify those foods that are actually low in carbohydrate," said Regina Schumann, the Council's COO. "They want a seal that is certified and approved by an independent entity - a non-profit - that tests foods based on a government-certified scientific protocol. This will prove to be much more valuable to consumers than some of the current enticing label claims that are sometimes based on fuzzy math formulas, offered by organizations with no previous experience in the field, or simply sold to the highest bidder."

The newly-developed certification seals are being made available through a cooperative working relationship and exclusive license agreement between the CAC the Glycemic Research Institute. The GRI already has government-approved certification seals for low-glycemic foods and nutraceuticals and has been in the food testing business for 20 years. "The Carb-Approved Certification Seals will offer consumers utmost confidence in the products that bear them." said Dr. Ann de Wees Allen of the GRI. "Consumers will have the knowledge that the products that carry the certification seal have been tested and meet the highest scientific and governmental standards."

An education campaign targeted toward consumers will kick-off in the coming weeks to explain the standards and guidelines. "Consumers are becoming more and more savvy and know what they want," said Dr. Gil Wilshire of the CAC, "They want accurate information. They want foods that will not negatively affect their weight-loss goals nor impair their ability to maintain weight. They want a seal that they can trust. We will provide that."

Consumers will soon have an entire website available to help them understand the seals and how the testing guidelines establish a rigorous protocol based on science. Until the website is launched, consumers may visit http://www.CarbAware.org or http://www.glycemic.com for basic information about the seals.

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Regina Schumann