In an attempt to undermine the FDA's current efforts to rationalize front-of-package labeling, industry groups have devised a new campaign
Does a name change make a difference? The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) evidently think so.
They are changing the name of their preemptive front-of-package (FOP) labeling scheme from "Nutrition Keys" to "Facts Up Front."
The new name comes with a new website, a new organization (FactsUpFront.org), and a $50 million marketing campaign.
Its purpose? As I have discussed on more than one occasion (see here and here, for example), GMA and FMI are engaged in a blatant, in-your-face attempt to undermine the FDA's current efforts to rationalize FOP labeling.
The FDA engaged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to produce two research reports on FOP labeling. The first IOM report, released a year ago, concluded that FOP labels should disclose only calories and three "bad-for-you" nutrients: saturated fats, trans-fats, and sodium. I thought the report made sense but that the omission of sugars was a mistake.
The IOM also said that information about good-for-you nutrients -- protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals -- would only confuse consumers and would be likely to encourage food companies to unnecessarily fortify products with these nutrients as a marketing strategy.