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Food Labeling News

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Meat now has nutrition labels

The Department of Agriculture has a new rule that has started to be enforced as of March 1st 2012. Ground meat and poultry will now carry labels with nutritional information. There will also be nutritional information posted on display at the store or on the packaging of forty of the most popular cuts of meat and chicken.  These labels will list the amount of calories, and total fat and saturated fat in the meat product.

Facts Up Front

In a move to educate consumers, the FDA is supporting the use of the Facts Up Front (previously known as Nutrition Keys) nutrition labeling system.  This initiative is sponsored by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association and the Food Marketing Institute.

The four icons that will appear on the front of the food package are to inform the consumer at a glance how many calories are contained within, the amount of fat together with percentage of daily value, the amount of sodium with percentage of daily value and the amount of total sugars. It can additionally showcase two other nutrients – for example, if said product is high in fiber or iron.

The FDA has stopped short of endorsing Facts Up Front – it intends to use enforcement discretion for some parts of the plan, but not if this system is used to mislead consumers.

The problem with this labeling system is that there is no information telling the consumer whether this is a healthy choice or not.  Is 2g of fat reasonable in this food, or not? How is the consumer supposed to know whether the sodium level is high or low for this product? In the UK they color code using the Traffic Light Color Coding – red means the level is high, orange (amber as they call it) is medium, and green would be low.

Do you read nutrition labels? Do you understand those facts and figures and percentages?

Read about Supermarkets Hiring Professionals to Provide a Nutrition Score to Groceries.


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