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Experts Propose New Front-Of-Pack Food Rating System

| Filed under: FoodHealth

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Similar to the Energy Star ratings on the front of household appliances, a panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine is recommending easy-to-read nutritional value labels that rate packaged food.

A two year study has confirmed that front-of-pack labels highlighting healthy ingredients ("high in vitamin C!") while ignoring unhealthy ingredients ("even higher in sodium!") are actually just confusing the public.

Since labels vary from product to product, the IOM panel is advocating a standard label for all products. It would not only show calories per serving at a glance, but would also provide a three-point checkmark (or star) system to indicated if the product contains healthy levels of sodium, sugar, and fat.

The system would give products one point for having low enough levels of each of the three nutrients "of concern" listed above.

For example, whole wheat bread would have three points, while gram crackers would only receive two points because of low levels of fat and sodium, but high sugar.

Grocery store lobbyists aren't a fan of this proposed method of grading food, saying:

"We believe the most effective programs are those that trust consumers and not ones that tell consumers what they should and should not eat."

At the end of the day, it will all be up to the Food and Drug Administration, who is in charge of the nutrition label overhaul.

Do U think this is a better method of labeling the nutrition value of food products?

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