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.

Specifically, the study plans to examine consumer responses to food labels that exhibit various combinations of the characteristics of labeling statements (i.e., nutrients, types of claim, framing of statement, nature of statement, and presentation of statement); whether and how consumer responses to one of the characteristics may be affected by other characteristics (i.e., the interactions between different characteristics of labeling  statements); and whether and how labeling statements affect the use of the Nutrition Facts label.

The proposed collection of information is a controlled randomized experimental study. The study will use a 15-minute web-based survey to collect information from 4,000 English-speaking adult members of an online consumer panel maintained by a contractor. Results of the study will be used primarily to enrich the FDA's understanding of how multiple claims and other labeling statements on food packages may affect how consumers perceive a product or a label, which may in turn affect their dietary choices.

FDA is inviting comments on four areas: 1) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; 2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; 3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and 4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

Federal Register notice