24.10.2011

New consumer-​friendly nutrition label proposals for UK

The Institute Of Medicine (IOM) has proposed consumer-​friendly, front of packaging nutrition labelling. In response to the proposal, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) executive director, Michael F Jacobson, Stated: The Institute of Medicine’s proposal is eminently sensible—and will probably be roundly condemned by food manufacturers. A simple icon with 3, 2, 1, or 0 check marks would give shoppers at-​a-​glance information about nutritional booby traps lurking inside packaged foods. The IOM’s proposal is far preferable to the voluntary ‘Facts Up Front’ labelling programme that the grocery industry is rushing to market. The industry hopes to preempt more consumer-​friendly requirements by the FDA. The industry’s complex scheme requires consumers to consider the amounts of calories and four to six nutrients, without any numerical score or useful symbols to convey a food’s nutritional value. It is worth noting that the IOM’s approach, like all of the systems yet developed, still has holes that the FDA would have to address. For instance, it gives no consideration to foods’ vitamin, mineral, fibre, or protein content. Also, white bread, whole wheat bread, broccoli, artificially sweetened soft drinks, and artificially coloured and flavoured diet Jell-​O would all have top scores of 3. Still, the FDA should promptly assign a task force to develop a mandatory front-​of-​package labelling regulation based on the IOM’s advice.


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