Although the concept of major industry overhauls would, at first glance, seem to be a source of trepidation and anxiety, the recent development occurring within the US food labeling sector have been greeted with a surprising amount of warmth and agreeability. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has largely been responsible for setting labeling standards for the past two decades since such notification began a legal requirement of sales. The changes that the FDA recently mandated are the first since the arrival of the label itself, a fact which many believe fully justifies the “facelift” that these products have experienced.
Some of the larger changes that consumers should expect to find on their new products are centered on nutritional information such as calorie counts, serving sizes and “percent-daily-values.” These items will be more prominently featured, allowing customers to quickly asses the products they are purchasing based upon these relevant data markers. Although it could be argued that this type of “highlight” approach places an overwhelming amount of importance on a handful of markers which may or not may not prove to be an effect summarisation of a particular product, it is believed that informing customers of these elements of nutrition will help them make “wise” dietary choices over time.
According to Jessica Leighton, Ph.D, a senior nutrition and policy adviser for the Food and Drug Administration, “The goal is to make people aware of what they are eating and give them the tools to make healthy dietary choices throughout the day.”
That being said, some groups are stressing the importance of educating consumer on how to properly read labels in tandem with introducing the aforementioned adjustments to the labels themselves. Dr. Glenna McCollum, president of the Academy Of Nutrition and Diatetics, was quoted as saying, “To make these changes fully meaningful for consumers, the Academy recommends implementing a sustained, adequately funded nutrition education initiative empowering consumers to use the new label to make informed decisions to eat healthfully.” It seem plausible that the effectiveness of a labeling system is largely reliant on the ability of individuals to read and comprehend the label itself.