The Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) declared the introduction of a new labeling system for the member companies at an online press release yesterday.
America’s foremost food and beverage manufacturers and retailers joined hands and announced their responsibility to work out a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system in order to fight obesity. This unique consumer proposal will make it simpler for busy customers to make correct choices while they shop, putting healthier beverages into their cup holder. American food and beverage companies and vendors have reached a decision to promote the modifications to their product labels with a $50 million consumer education drive.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its first FDA-sponsored Front-Of-Package (FOP) labeling report just two weeks before. The IOM committee’s recommends that the FOP symbols point out only about the calories, sodium, trans fat and saturated fat, the nutrients closely associated with obesity, heart problems, diabetes etc. This made William Neuman of The New York Times to sum up the attempt as, “Tell us how your products are bad for us.”
GMA and FMI say that they would prefer to label their products with all the constituents that are beneficial like added vitamins, omega-3s, fiber etc. If they have to resolve negatives, they favor “no trans fat” or “no cholesterol.”
Whatever it is, they particularly do want the FDA (who also monitors wheelchair accessories) to enforce the “traffic-light” symbols of UK that display a red circle for less healthy nutrient levels and a green circle for healthier levels. These symbols dissuade customers from purchasing anything marked in red, and hence were so powerfully resisted by the food industry that they resulted in canceling of the British Food Standards Agency. (Bad for the consumer who easily loses track of how many sodas they’ve drank from their drink holder.)
Mr Neuman quotes a GMA representative and executive vice president for the group, Mary Sophos in today’s New York Times. She stressed that like the traffic signal label in Great Britain, the label would not characterize a food’s overall nutritional qualities as good or bad and that they are not willing to enter into interpreting constituents of the food.
Certainly, GMA and FMI too desire the same thing to occur to our FDA. An F.D.A. statement said, “Our hope is that the industry will develop a label that aids in consumer understanding and helps parents and other shoppers easily identify and select products that contribute to a healthy diet.”
This attempt proves the FDA requirements for compulsory FOP labels. The food industry will not readily label its processed foods in a manner that will help the consumers make better food selections and the GMA and FMI just confirmed that.