I listened in on the conference call at which the Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Food Marketing Institute announced their new Nutrition Keys design for front-of-package labels. [Editor's note: Read our other coverage of the announcement here and here.] My favorite comment: We are all "singing kumbaya" here. Nutrition Keys, they said, was the result of a" monumental, historic effort" in which food companies "stepped up to the plate in a big way," "with 100-percent support."
Why did they go to all this trouble? Because "a healthy consumer makes for a happy consumer."
The real reason, as I explained yesterday, is to preempt the FDA's front-of-package food labeling initiatives which might make food companies reveal more about the "negatives" in processed foods.
Here's what GMA and FMI say the new label will look like:
Four of these things are required: calories, saturated fat, sodium, and total (not added) sugars. Packages can also display up to two "nutrients to encourage" picked from this collection: protein; fiber; vitamins A, C, and D; and potassium, iron, and calcium.
Let's give these food trade associations credit for listing sugars instead of the Institute of Medicine's recommendation for trans fat. Trans fats are already gone from most processed foods. Everyone cares about sugars. But these are total sugars, not added sugars, which is what really matters.