Posted October 3, 2013
 
A new bill has been introduced to amend the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, proposing new requirements for nutritional information on food labels, according to a Whole Foods article, available here.
 
The “Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013” was introduced by Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and is co-sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).  The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).  The full text of the bill is available here.
 
According to an article by the Shelton Herald, available here, the bill is designed to cut down on “confusing and misleading information that consumers encounter on today’s food packages.”  The bill would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) to “establish a single, standard front of package nutrition labeling system” for all food products. 
 
The proposed bill would change nutrition labels to make them easier for consumers to read by separating ingredients by bullet points and using a different font.  The bill would also create new guidelines for the use of the words “healthy” or “made with whole grain.”  In addition, the percent daily value for calories and the amount of added sugar would be required on the Nutrition Facts Panel.
 
Michael F. Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest said, “This bill would give consumers confidence that the claims they read on food labels … are grounded in reality.”
 
Rep. DeLauro said, “The Food Labeling Modernization Act will give food labeling requirements in America a major, common-sense, and long-overdue overhaul by making sure food labels are clear, accurate, and a fair representation of the product.”
 
Rep. Pallone said that “healthy eating is critical to combating” the epidemic of childhood obesity and “that is why it is so important that when families make the effort to eat nutritious healthy food, the labels on the food products help them make the right choices – not confuse or mislead them.” 
 
Major food labeling provisions of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act have not been updated since 1990 and, in some areas, have not changed since 1938.  A press release from Rep. Pallone’s office is available here.

 

For more information on food labeling, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.