The time is ripe to change food labeling

Last week, lawmakers reintroduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act. This is a landmark bill that will revolutionize the way we think about food labeling. After being introduced in every Congress since 2013, this year’s reintroduction included Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Ben Cardin (Maryland), and Ed. Sponsored by Marquee, Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island. Rep. Frank Pallone (DN.J.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) have a new sense of purpose. Nutrition policy has received increasing attention from policy makers, and the bill came at a time when change was ready.

Policymakers from the White House to federal agencies to states and local governments recognize the urgent need to combat diet-related illnesses in America. A major risk factor.

In September, the Biden-Harris administration held the first conference on hunger, nutrition and health at the White House in more than 50 years, creating a government and industry commitment to increase healthy eating by 2030. And in January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a number of changes within the FDA to strengthen its efforts to promote healthier diets, including developing a new Center for Excellence in Nutrition. We have announced plans to reorganize our food functions.

State and local governments are stepping up efforts to pass innovative policies that support nutrition. For example, Montgomery County, Maryland has enacted laws mandating healthier meals for children in restaurants. Perris, a California law requiring healthier items in supermarket checkout aisles. New York City’s Sweet Truth Act requires warnings on certain products from chain restaurants that are high in sugar. And a bill introduced by the New York legislature to address predatory food marketing aimed at children.

The Food Label Modernization Act of 2023 aligns food labeling regulations with the latest nutritional science, uses food labeling to encourage healthier product formulations, combats misleading claims, and promotes informed choices. We are building on this momentum by promoting This bill’s signature initiative would establish a standard front-of-package nutrition labeling system for packaged foods sold in the United States. Communicate clearly if they contain levels of sodium, added sugars, or saturated fat.Nutrients that are over-consumed, associated with chronic disease, and recommended for dietary restriction.

Similar requirements are already in place in several countries such as Mexico, Israel and Chile. A study in Chile, one of the first countries to introduce the label, found that after introducing the mandatory “high content” label, 7 products higher in calories, sugar, sodium, or saturated fat were found across the country’s food supply. % decreased. Decrease rate of total sugar (15% difference between 2013 and he 2019). Daily purchases of calories, calories from sugar and saturated fat, and calories from milligrams of sodium also decreased significantly. It became one of the latest countries to adopt nutrition labeling requirements.

Over a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) recommended that the United States adopt front-of-package labeling. Today, the recommendation has broad bipartisan support. In March 2023, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked 75% of all consumers as mandatory on the front of the package, including Democrats (83%) and Republicans (68%), representing 75% of all consumers. commissioned a national survey to assess public support for the label. %) and independents (73%) said they “strongly support” or “somewhat support” such policies in the United States. Hygiene and consumer groups have also expressed support for mandatory front-of-pack labeling.

In response to regulatory petitions filed by CSPI and other groups calling for nutrition labeling on the front of packages, and similar directives in the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the FDA recently announced the plan. We conducted a design survey of the label on the front of the package and took the first step towards a full-fledged proposal. While some of the possible designs look reasonable, the FDA has also included a design similar to the food industry’s “Facts Up Front” system. Food Labeling Modernization Act.

There is ample research to support the adoption of mandatory front-of-pack labeling in the United States. – Sponsored the Food Labeling Modernization Act.

Eva Greenthal, MS, MPH, Senior Policy Scientist Public Interest Science Center.

Peter Lurie, MD, MPH is Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Previously, he served as Vice Chairman of Public Health Strategy and Analysis at the Food and Drug Administration and as Deputy Director of the Public Health Research Group.

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