Apathy over nutrition labels for fresh produce inexcusable - The Packer

Apathy over nutrition labels for fresh produce inexcusable

03/03/2014 02:18:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstThe Food and Drug Administration has put out a new proposed rule on food labeling. While they are largely irrelevant for fresh produce, the packaged foods industry - and consumers - have been paying quite a bit of attention to the new proposal.

Comments on the proposed rule are due June 2. The changes to the labeling regulation for “conventional foods and dietary supplements” are designed to provided updated nutrition information on the label to assist consumers in eating healthy.

In the proposal, the agency updated the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared and also revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a news release in support of the new regulations with a few caveats.

From that release:

Proposed revisions to the Nutrition Facts label, released today by the Food and Drug Administration, received mostly high marks from the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lobbied for the passage of the 1990 law requiring nutrition labels on packaged foods. CSPI especially welcomed the proposed new emphasis on calories, revision of certain foods’ serving sizes, and new line for added sugars. But the group says the agency should revise its proposal to include a Daily Value for added sugars and to further lower the Daily Value for sodium to 1,500 milligrams.

The tone from the Grocery Manufacturers Association struck a positive tone but suggested the industry has it handled, after all:

WASHINGTON, DC –The Grocery Manufacturers Association issued the following statement from President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey in response to today’s announcement by First Lady Michelle Obama of proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label on food packages:

“We welcome First Lady Michelle Obama’s announcement of the proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts panel and thank her for her leadership on this and broader health issues. The nation could not ask for a more thoughtful, effective or passionate advocate than Michelle Obama.

“For 20 years, the Nutrition Facts panel has been an invaluable tool to help consumers build more healthful diets for themselves and their families, and the time is right for an update.

“Diets, eating patterns and consumer preferences have changed dramatically since the Nutrition Facts were first introduced. Just as food and beverage manufacturers have responded by creating more than 20,000 healthier product choices since 2002, and by providing tools like Facts Up Front front-of-pack labels, the FDA is responding with a thoughtful review of the Nutrition Facts panel.

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