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Food Nutrition Labels Must Be Made Simpler, Experts Say
Date:10/20/2011

n easy guidance system of some kind that will encourage consumers to make informed decisions about their food choices. The real question is, will a ratings system ultimately affect peoples buying habits or their health?" she added.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has already come up with its own labeling system.

"In January, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute launched Facts Up Front, a fact-based, front-of-pack nutrition labeling system to help busy consumers -- especially parents -- make informed decisions when they shop," said association spokesman Brian Kennedy.

The IOM report is an addition to the national dialogue about such nutrition labeling, Kennedy said.

"However, it is largely an academic exercise, like many before it. The point-based system recommended by the IOM is unproven, complex and therefore likely to be confusing. It would also fail to provide consumers with the simple and clear facts they want," he added. "Meanwhile, food and beverage companies have developed a real-world program that delivers real value to consumers in real time."

More information

For more information on healthy diets, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

SOURCES: Ellen A. Wartella, Ph.D., Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication, director, Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator, Center for Cancer Care, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; Brian Kennedy, spokesman, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Washington, D.C.; Oct. 20, 2011, report, Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Promoting Healthier Choices


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