Obesity and nutrition initiatives launched

The Grocery Manufacturers of America told the FDA hearing that it will focus on nutrient content claims on food labels, consumer research about food labels, and advertising self-regulation.

The group said it will

• Submit a citizen’s petition to FDA early in 2004 to define what constitutes a “low-carb” food and to establish clear guidelines for the use of this content claim.

• Commission consumer research to determine how consumers use the food label for calorie information, how to more effectively communicate the amount of calories in single-serving packages, and how consumers use reduced-calorie foods as part of their total diet.

• Issue a formal request that the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) publish a white paper explaining its work regarding food advertising to raise public awareness, and that the National Advertising Review Council expand its monitoring of food and beverage advertising through CARU.

GMA also said that innovation in developing nutritious new foods and beverages will be critical in helping people reach their health goals. Companies must be able to communicate the benefits of their products through labeling, GMA said.

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