In March, 2014, the FDA announced upcoming changes to the “Nutrition Facts” label found on food packages. It marked the first change in 20 years. In July, 2015, the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars was added. The compliance date is still a couple years away, but I don’t sense that this a big deal for most people, because we tend not to read much beyond the calorie count, largely because making sense out of the Nutrition Facts label requires a degree in nutritional science! But, I believe that’s just the way food manufacturers like it. As long as consumers don’t know what they’re consuming, e.g., all the sugar, salt, fat and chemical additives, food manufacturers can focus on marketing addictive, nutritionally-challenged, food products that contribute to the declining health of our nation.
Pamela Bailey, president of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, greeted the announcement of new labeling with the following statement.
“It is critical that any changes are based on the most current and reliable science. Equally as important is ensuring that any changes ultimately serve to inform, and not confuse, consumers."
My translation: “The new labeling better not affect sales of the unhealthy processed food that we disguise with our currently confusing and devious labeling system!”
There does exist a far less confusing alternative. The European Union uses a color-coded traffic light approach. On every food package, there appears a color-coded label with nutritional measures for: Energy, Salt, Sugar and Fat. A nutritional measurement that meets scientifically established standards receives a green label. A yellow label cautions of a nutritional level that falls below established standards. Finally, a red label warns of unacceptable nutritional value. Traffic lights very simply reduce our risk from harm when traveling. A similar approach is needed to protect us when making food choices.
Choose Food WELL!
M. J. White is the creator of “LEAN Wellness”, which transforms work environments with a radically different bottom-up approach that inspires continuous improvement in health and wellbeing. To learn more, visit the website at: www.wellstreet.us or email M. J. directly at: email@example.com.