Extreme Makeover: Nutrition Label Edition

October 7, 2010

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Photo: Courtesy of Kid's Health

Approximately
twenty years ago, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act,
which required all packaged foods to display a detailed nutrition facts label.
This label was to include serving sizes, energy content, and ingredients.
Overtime, however, companies have come up with a variety of ways to “trick”
consumers with the writing they present on their packaged goods. Due to this
deception by food producers, the Center for Science in the Public Interest
wants to give the nutrition label a makeover! The suggested changes are as
follows:

 The
use of symbols on the front of packages to give shoppers a quick snapshot of
key nutrients.

  • Put
    calorie and serving size information at the top of the food label in larger
    font so it’s easy to read and stands out to consumers.
  • Change
    the all-caps type of ingredient lists to regular type and separate ingredients
    with bullets.
  • Separate
    the ingredients list into minor and major ingredient lists. Highlight all
    potential allergens and their information in red.
  • Use red
    labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20% of the daily
    recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium, or cholesterol. Use other colors such
    as yellow and orange to signify low and medium content, respectively.
  • Label
    which sugars occur naturally in the product and which are added.
  • List
    caffeine content.
  • Display
    the percentage of whole grains contained in the product.

The “new” nutrition facts label looks quite different from the
ordinary label we see today. The Center for Science in the Public Interest hope
that the label will not only draw the attention of shoppers, but will also
encourage people to start caring about what is in their food.

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