Food and Nutrition Labeling - News Food and Nutrition Labeling in the "Daily News"

  • U.S. Senate rejects GE food labeling (June 25, 2012).  According to Vermont Public Radio, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to give individual states the authority to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods by a vote of 26 to 73.
  • California to vote on GMO labeling (June 18, 2012).  According to the Associated Press, California voters will decide this November whether to require special labels for food made from genetically modified ingredients. Advocates collected more than half a million signatures supporting the stronger labeling requirements, and the Secretary of State has certified the measure for the state’s November ballot.
  • USDA streamlining meat, poultry labeling approval process (May 23, 2012).  The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has launched a new web-based label approval system that will streamline the agency’s review process for meat, poultry, and egg product labels. The Label Submission Approval System (LSAS) will make it possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications electronically, will flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the progress of their submission.
  • Corn Products/National Starch launches clean label insights website (April 27, 2012).  Corn Products International/National Starch Food Innovation, a global provider of ingredient solutions to the food and other diversified industries, has announced the launch of a website—cleanlabelinsights.com—dedicated to capturing and communicating consumer needs in the area of clean label products.
  • New food labeling rules take effect in South Africa (March 30, 2012).  South Africa has implemented new labeling regulations that apply to food manufacturers both nationally and internationally, effective March 1, 2012.  South Africa has implemented new labeling regulations that apply to food manufacturers both nationally and internationally, effective March 1, 2012. 
  • Clean-label, gluten-free help savory snacks soar (March 30, 2012).  Despite ongoing economic difficulties, new product activity in the global snack foods industry appears to be continuing unabated. Launch numbers recorded by Innova Market Insights showed a strong double-digit increase in 2011. Savory and salty snacks accounted for just under two-thirds of the total, and snack nuts and seeds the remainder.
  • Nutrition info now available on meat, poultry products (March 5, 2012).  As of March 1, American consumers now have convenient access to nutritional information about the raw meat and poultry products they most frequently purchase. Under a new U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) rule, packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry, such as hamburger or ground turkey, now feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. Additionally, 40 of the most popular whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry, such as chicken breast or steak, will also have nutritional information either on the package labels or on display to consumers at the store.
  • Consumers skeptical about health claims on food packaging (January 27, 2012).  Nielsen, a global provider of insights and analytics around what consumers watch and buy, has released a report indicating that 59% of consumers around the world have difficulty understanding nutritional labels on food packaging and more than half (53%) consider themselves overweight.
  • Europeans lack motivation, attention to make healthy food choices (December 7, 2011).  Despite good understanding and prevalence of nutrition information on food labels in Europe, a lack of motivation and attention of consumers prevents labels from impacting positively on food choices. These are the final results from the European Union FLABEL project (Food Labeling to Advance Better Education for Life). The project provides research on consumer behavior and nutrition labels, and will provide guidelines for research, industry, and policy-makers.
  • Location of nutrition labels may determine how often they are viewed (October 27, 2011).  A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that people report that they view nutrition labels more often than they actually do. In a simulated grocery shopping exercise, 203 participants observed 64 different grocery products displayed on a computer monitor. Each screen contained three elements, the well-known Nutrition Facts label, a picture and list of ingredients, and a description of the product with price and quantity information.
  • USDA proposes labeling rule for raw meat, poultry-containing added solutions (July 21, 2011).  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a new rule to establish common, easy-to-understand names for raw meat and poultry products that include injections, marinades, or have otherwise incorporated added solutions that may not be visible to the consumer. FSIS has determined that some labels do not clearly identify if a solution has been added to a raw product to enhance flavor or texture. As a result, consumers may be purchasing raw meat and poultry products with higher sodium content than they realize. The agency invites comments on the proposed rule, which is intended to clarify these products’ labels so consumers can easily distinguish them from raw meat and poultry that do not contain added solutions.
  • FMI comments on FDA proposed menu labeling rule (July 11, 2011).  The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) filed comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed rule implementing section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires nutrition labeling on menus of standard items in chain restaurants.
  • States lead debate over modified food labeling (May 23, 2011).  According to The Washington Post, in the absence of a U.S. federal law requiring labels for genetically modified food, 14 states are debating whether to mandate labeling for modified foods sold within their borders. The discussions come as federal regulators weigh approval of the first genetically modified animal, a salmon, for human consumption.
  • U.S. FDA seeks comments on upcoming food labeling study (April 15, 2011).  In a notice in the Federal Register, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comments on a study entitled"Experimental Study on Consumer Responses to Labeling Statements on Food Packages." The 60-day commenting period ends June 13, 2011.
  • Nutrition Facts panel receiving less attention from U.S. consumers (January 26, 2011). Sixteen years after the Nutrition Facts labels were put on the back of nearly every food and beverage in stores and beginning Jan. 1, 2012 , nutrition labels will be added to meat and poultry packages.  Interest in reading the nutrition facts label has steadily waned among U.S. households, according to food market research by The NPD Group.
  • GMA, FMI introduce Nutrition Keys front-of-pack label (January 26, 2011).  America’s food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have announced the launch of Nutrition Keys, a new voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system that may help consumers make informed choices when they shop. The Nutrition Keys program was developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in response to a request from First Lady Michelle Obama in March of last year.
  • Food labels:  FDA needs power to regulate structure/function claims (January 21, 2011).  By statute, health claims on food labels must have significant scientific agreement, but in 2002, in response to a court decision, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided to allow qualified health claims with less scientific support. Congress directed the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study FDA’s implementation of qualified health claims for food. GAO examined 1) the results of FDA’s efforts to allow the use of qualified health claims and oversight of these claims and 2) consumers’ understanding of the claims. GAO also examined FDA’s oversight of structure/function claims—those claims referring to a food’s effect on body structure or function. The GAO reviewed FDA documents and consumer studies and interviewed stakeholders from health, medical, industry, and consumer groups.
  • Children’s food nutrition labels may be deceiving (January 19, 2011).  Parents shouldn’t look to the labels on the front of food packages for guidance on picking the healthiest products for their kids, according to a new Prevention Institute study. Released Jan. 19 through advocacy coalition Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, “Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children’s Food” found that 84% of products examined didn’t meet basic nutritional standards.
  • New USDA rule to add nutrition facts panels to meat, poultry products (January 3, 2011).  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has announced that it will be making important nutritional information readily available to consumers on 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry products. Under a new rule, packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry will feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. Additionally, whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry will also have nutrition facts panels either on their package labels or available for consumers at the point-of-purchase.
  • FDA to conduct survey on potential changes for Nutrition Facts label (November 18, 2010).  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to conduct an experimental study to quantitatively assess consumer reactions to potential options for modifying the Nutrition Facts label format. The purpose of the study is to help enhance FDA’s understanding of consumer comprehension and acceptance of modifications to the Nutrition Facts label format. The study is part of the Agency’s continuing effort to enable consumers to make informed dietary choices and construct healthful diets.
  • EFSA rules probiotic health claims unproven (October 22, 2010).  According to the Guardian, the food industry’s probiotics sector was called into question today by a new European ruling that its health claims are unsupported by sound science.
  • Food, beverage industry announces front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative (October 29, 2010).  America’s leading food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have joined forces in the fight against obesity and announced their commitment to develop a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system. The consumer initiative will make it easier for busy consumers to make informed choices when they shop.
  • Court OKs hormone-free label on dairy products in Ohio (October 4, 2010).  According to NPR, on Sept. 30 a federal court struck down an Ohio ban on dairy products whose labels say they’re made from milk that’s free of hormones that increase cows’ milk production. That means companies that want to say their products are “rbGH free” and “rbST free” and “artificial hormone free” are now free to do so.
  • EU lawmakers demand stricter food-labeling rules (June 18, 2010).  According to Reuters, European Union lawmakers voted on June 16 to strengthen controversial draft rules on food labeling that aim to fight rising levels of obesity in Europe. The European Parliament backed a proposed requirement for companies to label the energy, sugar, salt, and fat content of their foodstuffs on the front of packages, and added protein, unsaturated fats, and fiber to this list. Voting in Strasbourg, France, the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) also added a requirement for country-of-origin labels on meat, dairy, and fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and fish products used in processed.
  • Majority of American women read nutrition labels (April 7, 2010).  iVillage, the largest content-driven community for women on the Web, and Penton’s New Hope Natural Media have unveiled new research proving a majority of women are more focused than ever on buying healthy foods. The study shows that women are scrutinizing labels for ingredients such as high fiber, reduced fat, and low sodium and are staying away from additives such as high fructose corn syrup.
  • FDA survey finds more Americans read information on food labels (March 4, 2010).  A majority of consumers read food labels and are increasingly aware of the link between good nutrition and reducing the risk of disease, according to the latest survey of dietary habits released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Food companies phase out ‘Smart Choices’ logo (November 4, 2009).  According to The Chicago Tribune, Kraft Foods Inc. said Oct. 28 that it plans to phase out use of the “Smart Choices” logo, an industry-led nutrition labeling initiative that federal food regulators implied could mislead consumers. That same week, General Mills, Kellogg, and Unilever also said that they plan to phase out the Smart Choices label, which was unveiled a year ago and formally launched in grocery stores in August.
  • FDA analyzing front of package labels (October 21, 2009).  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Oct. 20 that it would seek to clear up the confusion caused by a surge of nutritional claims that manufacturers have begun to make on packaged food labels. 
  • Industry group pushes for non-GMO labeling (September 1, 2009).  According to The New York Times, the Non-GMO Project industry group has begun a campaign to test food products and label those that are largely free of biotech ingredients. Alarmed that genetically engineered crops may be finding their way into organic and natural foods, the group says the label will also reassure consumers about the food they are buying.
  • FDA requests comments on food label use survey (August 26, 2009).  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a notice of information collection regarding a survey of barriers to food label use. The FDA plans to conduct a voluntary Internet panel survey to assess barriers to food label use by consumers. Analyses have shown a sharp decline in food label use between 1994 and 2002, especially among consumers under 35 years old. The purpose of this survey is to learn the reasons for this decline in label usage.
  • Smart Choices Program label debuts on packages (August 6, 2009).  Hundreds of food and beverage products produced by some of the nation’s largest food companies will soon begin to carry the Smart Choices Program front-of-pack nutrition label. A group of scientists, nutritionists, consumer organizations, and food industry leaders designed the label—a single, green checkmark and a calorie information box—to promote public health by helping shoppers make smarter food and beverage choices.
  • FDA to study impact of nutrition symbols (June 4, 2009).  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will conduct an Experimental Study of Nutrition Symbols on Food Packages. The FDA uses the term “nutrition symbols” to refer to symbols used in food labeling that highlight a food’s overall nutritional profile or a particular nutritional attribute.
  • COOL rule in effect (March 24, 2009).  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is affirming, without change, its interim final rule requiring a country of origin statement on the label of any meat or poultry product that is a covered commodity, as defined by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and that is to be sold by a retailer, also as defined by AMS, in accordance with the regulations set out in AMS’ final rule, “Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling of Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Goat Meat, Perishable Agricultural Commodities, Peanuts, Pecans, Ginseng, and Macadamia Nuts.” 
  • USDA issues final country of origin label rule (January 15, 2009).  The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has issued the final regulation for the mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) program required by the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. The full text of the final rule will be published in the Jan. 15, 2009 Federal Register. The rule becomes effective on March 16, 2009, 60 days after the date of publication.

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