FDA Seeks Public Comment On Food Label Changes

April 1, 2005
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 1 asked for public comment on two proposals to improve the appearance and content of the nutrition label to help consumers make better-informed weight management decisions. The proposals focus on providing practical serving size information and increasing the prominence of calories on the food label.The proposals are direct responses to the recommendations contained in the FDA's Obesity Working Group (OWG) report entitled "Calories Count." The OWG final report made short and long-term recommendations that are based on the scientific fact that weight control is mainly a function of caloric balance."Today's action demonstrates our commitment to make the food label more meaningful and helpful to consumers," said Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "We are interested in exploring how modifying the food labeling regulations might give consumers better information they can use to control and manage their weight."In the first Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM), Food Labeling; Prominence of Calories, FDA is requesting comments on how calories appear on packaged food and how consumers use this information in making healthier dietary choices. Additionally, the agency is seeking comment on the reformulation of the foods or redesign of packaging that may occur if any changes are made to the food label.The second ANPRM, Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Products that Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion; Updating of Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs); Approaches for Recommending Smaller Portion Sizes, addresses the issue of serving size information on the food label, as well as possible ways to revise the label that would make it easier for consumers to choose more healthful foods. In the ANPRM, FDA is asking if changes should be made requiring that pre-packaged foods reasonably consumed during one eating occasion state the nutrition information for the entire package. For example, a 20-ounce soda would be required to list the total amounts of its nutritional content on the labeling.Both of the ANPRMs have an open comment period for 75 days. Interested persons can submit comments, referencing the docket number, electronically to [email protected] or in writing to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

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