WASHINGTON — A new bill, called the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013, aims to establish a standard front-of-pack nutrition labeling system and define product descriptors like "natural."


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The signature initiative of the measure would direct the Health and Human Services secretary to establish a single front-of-package labeling system for all food products that wish to bear nutrition labeling. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and was introduced in the Senate by Dick Blumenthal, D-Conn.

As part of the measure, the definition for “healthy” and other on-pack claims would be created or updated.

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“This bill would give consumers confidence that the claims they read on food labels — like ‘healthy,’ ‘natural,’ ‘made with whole grains’ and so on — are grounded in reality,” said Center for Science in the Public Interest Executive Director Michael Jacobson, in a statement.

The bill comes at a time of increased scrutiny of products that contain genetically modified ingredients and make natural claims. The FDA has not developed a definition for “natural,” but says it does not object to use of the term if the food doesn’t contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

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