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FDA watching front labels on food packages

30 October 2009 1,926 views No Comment

The food industry-led “Smart Choices” program has ended, as it should.

The effort launched in August as an attempt by companies to avoid additional federally mandated nutritional standards.

Participating manufacturers included a green label on package fronts to easily denote healthy food choices for consumers.

Cereals such as Froot Loops, with sugar listed as the No. 1 ingredient, received the green check. Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Krispies and other sugar-laden cereals also received the label, alongside foods such as Country Crock spread, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and many others.

Participating companies included Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Unilever, PepsiCo, Quaker Foods and Con-
Agra.

Last week, though, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would examine nutrition claims on the front of packages and would take action against false or misleading claims.

That was an appreciated step, and the one that prompted the food makers to disband their industry effort.

It now appears the FDA has become more serious about package-front labeling that would be quick and easy to find and understand. It still would continue the “Nutrition Facts” box located elsewhere.

Such effort would be greatly appreciated as nutrition facts boxes and ingredient labels grow in length and difficult-to-pronounce ingredients increase.

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