At the beginning of 2014, Food and drug administration (FDA) indicated the need to update nutritional labels. This announcement came in conjunction to white house which is set to provide the FDA-approved nutrition labels as part of tackling childhood obesity and encouraging better health habits.
The number of people who rely on nutrition labels when they select their food according to a research by department of agriculture in USA is on the rise. According to a report entitled food labeling chaos carried out by one of the nonprofit organization known as Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), there is lack of industrial nutrition labeling regulations that will hold companies accountable incase of wrong or false labeling. The report urged FDA to crack down on those companies that made overreaching claims about their products’ nutritional content. The report also suggested the need to make several adjustments and updates to the current nutrition labeling trends and establish a consistent standard for naturally labeled foods.
Suggestions put forth by CSPI’s report and which will improve nutrition labels include, dividing the information into different sections that will be simple to read, displaying calories content more prominently, color coding the ingredients which exceeds the daily recommended levels and adding the whole wheat content.
The current nutrition label used in America relies on categories and lettering which can be hard to read and interpret. This means that many consumers are limited from acquiring the required information based on the nutritional value of the food they are consuming. A study conducted by FDA in 2013 confirmed that many of the Americans don’t understand the nutrition label provided especially when the ingredients have been multiplied to calculate larger serving sizes.
FDA has not yet confirmed what needs to be changed from the current nutrition labels. However, different suggestions have been brought forth and include displaying calories content more prominently considering the obesity levels. The serving sizes need to be displayed in line based on what the consumers are actually eating.
Other changes which need to be unveiled include adding and dropping certain nutrients from the list of minerals and vitamins. The percentage of the added sugars need to be declared, indicate percentages by weight of main ingredients, bullets separate ingredients and list minor ingredients and allergens separately.
In addition to nutrition labeling, the FDA should make several changes to major food policies. This should include overhauling the food safety system, banning artificial Trans-fats and setting sodium targets for food products. With such major changes, food related health complications will drastically minimize.
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