IOM Supports Calorie Info on Front of Package

October 22nd, 2011 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

This week the Institute of Medicine issued its recommendations for Front-of-Package labeling, including specific calorie labeling in common household measures. The recommendation reads:

 Recommendation 1

FDA and USDA should develop, test, and implement a single, standard FOP system to

appear on all products. The system should have the following characteristics:

One simple, standard symbol translating information from the Nutrition Facts

panel (NFP) on each product into a quickly and easily grasped health meaning,

making healthier options unmistakable;

Displaying: Calories in common household measure serving sizes (shelf tags to be

used on bulk items such as fruits and vegetables as well as packaged goods),

and Zero to three nutritional “points” (for saturated and trans fats, sodium,

and added sugars);

Appearing on all grocery products, allowing consumers to compare food

choices across and within categories (determination for universal implementation of the symbol system must be preceded by consumer testing and conducted in conjunction with an education and promotion program);

Appearing in a consistent location across products;

Practical to implement by being consistent with nutrition labeling regulations;

Integrated with the NFP so that the FOP symbol system and the NFP are mutually reinforcing;

Providing a non-proprietary, transparent translation of nutrition information into health meaning; and

Made prominent and useful to consumers through an ongoing and frequently refreshed program of promotion integrating the efforts of all concerned parties.

It will be up to the Food and Drug Administration to act on the IOM recommendations. For background on FOP calorie labeling, see my post.