New Law Would Modernize Nutrition Labels, Clarify Terms Like “Healthy” & “Natural”


Chris Morran
Consumerist
September 19, 2013

While food production has gotten more sophisticated and complex, and we now know much more about how the human body is affected by a wide variety of ingredients, there haven’t been any changes to the food labeling provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act since 1990, and some sections of the law have not been updated since 1938. So in an effort to bring nutrition labeling into the 21st century, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would require clear front-of-package labeling while clarifying when companies can use marketing buzz words that may be misleading.

“There should be a simple, standard symbol system that displays calorie information related to a common serving size, and information related to nutrients strongly associated with public health concerns,” reads the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013 [PDF], announced today by Representatives Frank Pallone (NJ) and Rosa DeLauro (CT), along with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Consumers should be able to quickly and easily comprehend the meaning of the symbol system as an indicator of a product’s contribution to a healthy diet.”

The law, which revises the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, would require that these new labels be displayed in a consistent position across similar products, thus minimizing companies efforts to hide nutritional info.

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