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In response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposal to update the Nutrition Facts label to emphasize the link between diet and chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease, require information on the amount of added sugars in foods, and have serving sizes reflect how much people currently eat, among other changes, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) expressed its support and acknowledged First Lady Michelle Obama for her advocacy in this area.
“We welcome First Lady Michelle Obama’s announcement of the proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts panel and thank her for her leadership on this and broader health issues,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based GMA, adding that “the time is right for an update” to the 20-year-old label.
“Diets, eating patterns and consumer preferences have changed dramatically since the Nutrition Facts were first introduced,” explained Bailey. “Just as food and beverage manufacturers have responded by creating more than 20,000 healthier product choices since 2002, and by providing tools like Facts Up Front front-of-pack labels, the FDA is responding with a thoughtful review of the Nutrition Facts panel.”
Bailey pledged that GMA would work with FDA and others on the updates, while cautioning: “It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science. Equally as important is ensuring that any changes ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers.”
“By revamping the Nutrition Facts label, FDA wants to make it easier than ever for consumers to make better-informed food choices that will support a healthy diet.” noted Michael R. Taylor, the agency’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “To help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country, the proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes.”
The proposed changes would affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The FDA is additionally proposing to make corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements where applicable. The agency will accept public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.