The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has recommended to the commissioners that they reject a request from the manufacturer of Fresh Horizons Special Formula Bread that would permit it to make weight reduction claims for the product.
A spokesman for the manufacturer ITT-Continental Baking Co., called the staff report "absolutely irresponsible," Robert Keane, ITT's view president of public affairs said, "Without any question we expect to appeal this unwarranted and prejudicial report to the full commission."
In 1971 the FTC filed a "cease and desist" order against ITT as a result of Profile Bread advertising, which said the product contained fewer calories than other bread and eating it would result in weight loss. The order said the only difference between Profile and ordinary bread was that the former was sliced thinner so it had seven fewer calories than a typical slice of white bread. The order applied to Profile as well as any other bread about which the company might wish to make weight reduction claims.
ITT's recent request was that the FTC amend the 1971 order so the company could make such claims for Fresh Horizons bread, which has been characterized by the FTC report as "more than 52 per cent water and wood" pulp.
The commission's staff report says weight-reduction claims for Fresh Horizons should not be permitted for two reasons:
1) because ITT is unable to scientifically substantiate that eating the bread will result in a weight loss and
2) Because French Hutloans fails to disclose to purchasers limit the reason the bread has fewer calories than other breads is because it contains "10 per cent more water than is put in other breads" and "removes a substantial amount (about 15 per cent) of the nutrients found in those other breads (carbohydrates/fats)" and replaces them with a sizeable amount of allegedly calorie-free non-nutritive powdered wood pulp."
The report says the advertising "deception" for Fresh Horizons would be similar to that for Profile. In fact it says it may be "all the more certain" because the consumer gets something in each slice that he is not likely to have expected - powedered wood pulp," flisted oil the package label as powdered cellulose is actually powdered wood pulp may also constitute a violation of an FTC regulation that forbids any advertisment that "creates a misleading impression upon consumers," according to the staff report.
The commissioners are expected to act on the staff recommendations in the next few weeks.
A spokesman for Fresh Horizons said, "We went to the FTC to request relief from the Profile order on this position: That if we were able to run clinical research demonstrating with thorough documentation that weight reduction claims could be supported then we would seek relief from the restrictions."