Make the Lifestyle Change and Feel Better About
Makeover for Food Labels
Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and
Education Act, requiring packaged foods to carry a detailed nutrition
For the most part, the label has an easy-to-follow format that lists
calories, serving size and ingredients. But now the consumer advocacy
group Center for Science in the Public Interest wants to give the food
facts label a makeover.
The center says the makeover is necessary to clarify and highlight
important parts of the label and also to prevent unnecessary and
misleading words from confusing consumers. Among the suggested changes
to the food label:
Put calorie and serving size information in larger type at the top of
the label so it’s immediately clear how much you are eating.
Make the ingredient list easier to read by printing it in regular type
instead of all capital letters. Use bullets to separate ingredients
rather than allowing them to all run together.
List minor ingredients and allergens separately from the main ingredient
list. Highlight allergy information in red.
List similar ingredients together and show the percentage by weight. For
instance, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and grape juice
concentrate are all forms of sugar and should be listed in parenthesis
under the catchall heading “sugars.”
Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20
percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or
Make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that
Display prominently the percentage of whole grains contained in a
List caffeine content.
To look at an example of the suggested changes, click on the image
I was especially surprised by how much easier it is to read the
ingredient list when lower case letters and bullets are used. I also
liked the larger calorie information at the top of the label.
To learn more about the history of food labeling, here’s an interesting
timeline from the Fooducate blog. And to learn more about the C.S.P.I.
report, click here.
What do you think of the proposed label changes? Do you have suggestions
for improving the food facts label?
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