CSPI proposes changes to nutrition label

Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requiring packaged foods to carry a detailed nutrition facts label listing calories, serving size and ingredients.


Now the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest wants to give the food facts label a makeover to clarify and highlight important parts of the label and also to prevent unnecessary and misleading words from confusing consumers, reports The New York Times.


Suggested changes include:

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 cholesterol; make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that occur naturally; prominently display the percentage of whole grains contained in a product; and list caffeine content.

I must say the proposed label is easier to read, particularly the calories and serving size, the two things most consumers check out.