FDA Food Labeling Initiatives: The Progress Is Real

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I have now seen the talking points used by FDA senior scientific adviser Jessica Leighton in her speech to the Food Policy Conference last week. These are indeed quite different from those I reported a few days ago. Here is my understanding of what she actually said.

Dr. Leighton reported that the FDA was working on a number of food labeling initiatives:

    • Updating elements of the Nutrition Facts Panel such as calories, serving sizes, and Daily Values.

    • Identifying a front-of-pack nutrition label based on sound nutrition science and easily noticed, understood, and used by consumers.

    • Implementing the new federal menu labeling law with regulations to be released by March 2011.

She emphasized that the focus of FDA's public health efforts is to address chronic disease and obesity problems by making the best information available in the best way to help consumers make healthy food choices.

FDA seeks input. To that end, it is releasing solicitations and draft guidance documents.

FDA especially seeks research that can help the agency determine the best way its initiatives can improve consumer food behavior.

These goals make sense to me, and I'm glad to have them clarified.

Footnote: Food Chemical News has just filed a correction to its original story.


This post also appears on foodpolitics.com.

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Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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