This week, the food industry unveiled a new initiative to make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices about packaged foods. Food packages will soon start to carry food labels on the front, called “Nutrition Keys.” The front-of-package labels were created to “promote healthier lifestyles,” said Pamela Bailey, the president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
The nutrition keys will start to appear within the next few months, but will not be fully implemented until the end of the year. The keys will show the number of calories, in addition to the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fat per serving. The keys can also include two other nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, potassium, fiber, iron, calcium or protein.
Although making nutrition information more visible seems like a step forward, many have criticized the food industry’s initiative as a preemptive measure against a new food labeling system being developed by the Food and Drug Administration. “It’s hard not to be outraged at industry preemption of what FDA is trying so hard to do,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University.
Others have criticized the plan as being no easier to understand than existing nutrition panels. “Just putting those numbers on the front of packages could be confusing rather than helpful,” says Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. “People may not know how to use these numbers in the context of a day’s diet.”
Via USA Today.
January 26th, 2011