New FDA Food Labels – A Good Idea from Government (Really!)

by bethfalkwrites

While nothing that involves the plodding march of bureaucracy is ever simple, today’s FDA proposal suggesting changes to nutrition facts labeling is a very good thing indeed. New labels, if approved, will update serving sizes, make information about calories per serving and added sugars more visible, and clarify the recommended “daily values” of important nutrients. The bold typeface makes it quite difficult to miss the important numbers:

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Food and Drug Administration

One alternate label design would even categorize certain nutrients under “eat more” or “eat less” headings – critical information that’s often misunderstood.

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FDA

While writing this, I had to take a moment to step out of my Cynical Shoes and think carefully, because I very much like these proposed changes. The new labels will eliminate some of the confusion about calorie counts and critical nutrients, and will force those of us who’ve been known to work our way through the better part of a pint of ice cream to grapple with reality when we think about serving sizes. As usual, I find myself agreeing with the esteemed Marion Nestle on this news.

Is this proposal perfect? Of course not. It’s a great thing for people who actually read the labels, but there are plenty of people who don’t, and you can’t benefit from information you don’t have. But big changes happen incrementally, and I’m all for even small steps in the right direction.

If you’re feeling ambitious, or perhaps if you’d like to drag your friends and family through a demonstration of participatory government, you can check out the Federal Register listing for this proposal, read it, and submit a comment. You know that Big Food will make its voice heard – the nice thing is that you can speak, too.

And now I think I’ll go enjoy my slightly-more-than-a-half-cup serving of ice cream.

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