New Healthy Labeling System for Food Products

The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced the launch of a new labeling initiative for companies who are their members. In an effort to fight against obesity, America’s leading food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have decided to work together and devise a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system. So while shopping, busy consumers will be easily able to make the right selections of food and beverages (for frequent drinking, cup holders are fantastically easy to attach to any arm rest). America’s food and beverage companies and vendors have agreed to conform to this alteration to their product labels with a consumer education drive costing $50 million.

Around two weeks before, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) announced their first FDA-sponsored Front-Of-Package (FOP) labeling report wherein they recommended that FOP symbols should only mention calories, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat. IOM claims that these are the main constituents that are associated with obesity, heart problems, diabetes etc. “Tell us how your products are bad for us”, said William Neuman of The New York Times with the intention to summarize the approach.

GMA and FMI would preferably mention all the elements that are healthy in their product labels like additional vitamins, omega-3s, fiber and so on. They favor to point out “no cholesterol” or “no trans fat” in case they require doing negatives. Most companies prefer to point out their positives rather than the negatives, such as our recycled plastic wheelchair cup holder is a handy gadget as well as being recyclable (on the negative side it may not attach to every arm rest). All companies want to be painted in a good light.
But in any case, they do not desire that the FDA enforce the “traffic-light” symbols used in UK. These symbols indicate a red circle for less healthy nutrient levels and a green circle for healthier levels, and thus discourage customers from buying anything indicated in red. Its no surprise that this labeling system was so strongly opposed by the food industry which brought about withdrawing of the British Food Standards Agency.

In an issue of New York Times, Mr. Neuman writes about the views of a GMA representative and executive vice president for the group, Mary Sophos. She says that the group is not ready to enter into interpreting constituents of the food. The label would not characterize a product’s general nutritional qualities as good or bad like the traffic signal label used in Great Britain.

Obviously, GMA and FMI wish the same to happen in our FDA and said that their anticipation is that the industry will utilize a label that promotes consumer awareness. The label must support parents and other buyers to effortlessly choose foods that add to a healthy nutritional regime.
This step indicates the FDA requirements for mandatory FOP labels. Moreover the GMA and FMI have verified that the food manufacturers will not eagerly tag its processed foods in a fashion that aid the consumers to make better food selections.

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