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Suggested changes for food labels

In December of last year, the Center for Science in the Public Interest suggested an overhaul of the nutrition facts label found on packaged foods. The recommendations center around making the labels more user friendly, but create controversy in the industry.

According to the post on Grocery Headquarters, suggestions include:

Enlarge type on labels, and make more prominent serving size and calorie information--suggesting these be listed at the very top of the label.

Allergens should be listed separately from the main ingredient list and be highlighted in red.

Also listed in red, the percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or cholesterol—and include the word “high” if a product contains more than 20%.

Include percentage of whole grains in the product, and prominently display.

Clearly spell out caffeine content and which sugars are added to the product compared to those that occur naturally.

These seem at first glance to be common sense suggestions, but some do introduce a degree of complexity to the industry—revealing too much ingredient information may tip proprietary recipes, for instance.

The Center For Science In The Public Interest has absolutely no regulatory power to enforce or change current labeling practices, but does exert considerable influence on the FDA, and in the past has exercised enough clout to get CPGs to make labeling changes.

Ultimately, proponents of these changes hope that food labels made more clear will guide shoppers to look for healthier choices, pushing the CPGs to meet this demand.

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