Institute of Medicine panel proposes grading system for food

The Washington Post explains an Institute of Medicine report saying that “a symbol, such as a check mark or a star, should be displayed on the front of every food item and beverage sold in grocery stores so harried shoppers can judge nutritional value at a glance.” The report explains each product would be graded “in three categories – added sugar, sodium and fats,” resulting in “a maximum of three points or symbols for each product.”

In response, “the food and beverage industry … immediately resisted the plan.”

The Post says that “the Food and Drug Administration, which co-sponsored the study, has been pressing for a front-of-package label since 2009,” when “FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg decried the barrage of sometimes inaccurate slogans displayed on food.”

Bloomberg News says the panel concluded that “nutrition labels should use a ratings system similar to the federal Energy Star program.”

The system would signal “a fundamental shift in strategy that moves beyond simply informing consumers about nutrition facts and encourages them to purchase healthier food and beverages.”

FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said that “the FDA will review the panel’s recommendations as part of its ‘continuing assessment of possible approaches’ to nutrition labeling on package fronts.”

I kinda like the idea and think it would help us as consumers.

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