US front-of-pack labelling plans

Posted by Josette Dunn on 29th October 2010

US food manuafcturers, retailers and wholesalers have announced plans for new front-of-pack labels based on information that shows calories and nutrients to limit.

Woman grocery shopping

The plan, launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, comes a week after the US Institute of Medicine said food sold in the country should carry front-of-pack labels that focus on four elements – calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

The finer details of the programme, including technical and design elements, will be unveiled “in the coming months”, the GMA said, but the labels are expected to appear on products “early next year”.

“Thanks to this initiative and many other innovative industry programs, consumers will now have access to more information about their food than ever before,” said FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin.

The programme will also include details on how to provide consumers with information on the nutrients needed to build a nutrient-dense diet and to consume so-called shortfall nutrients. The GMA and the FMI will consult on those in the coming weeks.

Kellogg president and CEO Dave Mackay said the plan was “a landmark step forward in the industry’s commitment to help address the obesity challenge”.

“It represents the most significant change to food labels in the United States in nearly twenty years. And our commitment to an ambitious consumer education campaign will amplify the impact the labeling change will have in households across the country,” Mackay said.

Industry plans to formulate front-of-pack food labels failed last year when food companies including Kellogg, Kraft Foods and Unilever, dropped the Smart Choices Program logo from their products amid claims the label had misled consumers.

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