WASHINGTON — The Food & Drug Administration announced a sweeping plan to review on-pack nutrition rating programs for violations of federal regulations.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg outlined the initiative as criticism of some programs has grown louder.
“Some nutritionists have questioned whether this information is more marketing-oriented then health-oriented,” she said of the current generation of labeling programs on the market. “And judging from some of the labels that we’ve seen, we think that this is a valid concern.”
Hamburg said the agency has already mailed out letters putting the food industry on notice that nutrition labeling has become a priority. As part of the effort, Hamburg said the FDA has begun drafting a single set of universal nutrition criteria to be used for all labeling programs; commissioned an 18-month study to determine whether a single set of nutrition symbols is necessary; and proposed opening a dialogue with the industry to discuss options going forward.
In her statements, Hamburg twice referred to the industry-sponsored “Smart Choices” on-pack labeling program, unveiled earlier this year, which has been denounced by public health experts for being too lenient.
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