Nutrition Labeling Everywhere You Turn

It’s hard not to notice nutrition labels and symbols popping up and competing with each other on the front of a lot of food packaging.

There are several formats out there on the front of food packaging – symbols on foods that meet certain nutrition criteria, call-outs of certain nutrition information as well as scoring systems. All of them are voluntary.

The most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published articles on the effectiveness of three such systems, NuVal, the Nutrient Rich Foods Index and Smart Choices.

The FDA is actively looking into the possibility of putting into place a single front-of-pack food labeling system. Some initial research on various systems and positive results from the UK food labeling indicate that a single front-of-pack system might work. The question is: Which one? Likely the one of the options with the most scientific backing and credible rationale.

We’ll see … we admit, for example, when hurredly shopping for bread in that enormous aisle, among the breads that call themselves “whole grain,” “multi-grain,” etc. we often look to front-of-pack labels to help us quickly find out which options actually DO have at least 3g/serving (not as many as you think!).


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