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Calorie count plus points based on added sugars, sodium, and saturated and trans fats recommended as new front-of-package nutrition labeling system
Date:10/20/2011

WASHINGTON Federal agencies should develop a new nutrition rating system with symbols to display on the front of food and beverage packaging that graphically convey calorie counts by serving size and a "point" value showing whether the saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars in the products are below threshold levels. This new front-of-package system should apply to all foods and beverages and replace any other symbols currently being used on the front of packaging, added the committee that wrote the report.

"Our report offers a path to develop an Energy Star equivalent for foods and beverages," said committee chair Ellen Wartella, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication, professor of psychology, and director, Center on Media and Human Development, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. "A successful front-of-package nutrition rating system would enable shoppers to instantly recognize healthier products by their number of points and calorie information. It would encourage food and beverage producers to develop healthier fare and consumers to purchase products that are lower in calories and food components that contribute to chronic disease."

The report envisions a rating system in which foods and beverages earn points if their amounts of nutrients of concern -- saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars -- are at or below levels considered acceptable based on qualifying criteria. The more points a food or beverage has, the healthier it is. A product could earn up to three points, one each for having sodium and added sugars that do not exceed threshold amounts and one for having saturated and trans fats below designated levels. For example, 100 percent whole wheat bread could qualify for all three points while graham crackers could earn two points for having levels of sodium and saturated and trans fats below the thresholds. Points would be graphically displayed on pac
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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