Turning up the pressure for front-of-package nutrition labeling
Naseem Buras via Unsplash
Pear in Mind: A Blog in the Public Interest
A vast body of scientific research points to the public health benefits of simple nutrition information on the front of food packages. Studies say these “front-of-package nutrition labels” (FOPNL) nudge consumers towards healthier choices while grocery shopping and push food manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of their products. Labels that call attention to products with high levels of sodium, sugar, or saturated fat appear to be particularly effective at influencing both consumer and industry behavior.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been calling for FOPNL since 2006. Since then:
Now, CSPI is turning up the heat on FDA to develop a FOPNL system for packaged foods sold in the United States. Earlier this month, we submitted a regulatory petition calling on the agency to issue regulations requiring an easy-to-understand, standardized system that is:
3. evaluates the levels of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat per serving
4. includes calories
Here are some examples of labels from other countries that would meet these criteria:
Examples of nutrient-specific, interpretive nutrition labels implemented in the UK (left), Mexico (middle), and Ecuador (right)
As legislators and public health stakeholders issue renewed calls for FOPNL, FDA has announced plans to host consumer focus groups on FOPNL this summer. We’re excited about this development, and plan to keep the pressure on!