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Sunday, January 23, 2022

New Front-Of-Package Nutrition Labeling

New Front-Of-Package Nutrition Labeling


The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA) have decided to enforce a new labeling system for their member companies. This decision was announced with an online press release.

The prominent food and beverage manufacturers of America, in an attempt to battle against obesity have made a decision to team up and develop a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system. This plan will be of great help to busy consumers in making accurate, healthy selections while shopping. America’s food and beverage companies and vendors have said yes to this change of product labels with a consumer awareness campaign estimating $50 million.

In its first FDA-sponsored Front-Of-Package (FOP) labeling report which was released just two weeks back, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposes that the FOP symbols indicate only about the calories, sodium, trans fat and saturated fat, the nutrients which are directly linked with obesity, heart problems and diabetes. This led William Neuman of The New York Times to sum up its attempt as “Tell us how your products are bad for us.”

GMA and FMI prefer to mention “no trans fat” or “no cholesterol” in their product labels if they must do negatives, but they prefer highlighting all the constituents that are good in the products like added vitamins in beverages (not to worry, the universal cup holder can handle the added weight of additional vitamins), omega-3s in cereals, and fiber in pizzas.

In any event, they specifically do not want the UK “traffic-light” symbol labeling system to be put into effect by FDA. This system shows a red circle for less healthy nutrient levels and a green circle for healthier levels. These symbols were so strongly resisted by the food industry that they caused the called off the British Food Standards Agency as they deter consumers from buying foodstuffs denoted in red.

Mr. Neuman, in a New York Times article quotes Mary Sophos, a GMA representative and executive vice president for the group. She says that the group is not keen on entering into interpreting food elements. The label would not demonstrate the whole nutritional attributes of a product as good or bad as the UK system does.

GMA and FMI evidently are looking forward to having a similar thing to take place in our FDA. An FDA statement said, “Our hope is that the industry will develop a label that aids in consumer understanding and helps parents and other shoppers easily identify and select products that contribute to a healthy diet.”

This move shows all the signs the FDA requires for compulsory FOP labels. The food industry will not keenly label its processed foods in a manner that will assist the public to choose healthier foods. After all, the food and beverage industry is exactly that, an industry, one that relies on consumers to purchase it’s products, whether they are good or bad for them, to make money. Apparently profits are more important than the health and wellness of the American people.

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