According to a recent article on foodpolitics.com, FDA is now supporting the front-of-packaging labeling scheme introduced by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
The GMA-FMI Facts-Up-Front scheme seems to be an end run around the FDA’s front-of-package labeling initiatives, which are still winding their way through the rule making process. However, it appears from that they may be bending to some pressure from the FMI, GMA and other food industry associations.
FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, Michael Taylor, said that the four standardized basic icons required by industry’s Facts Up Front program – for calories, saturated fat, sodium and total sugars – “would alleviate some of FDA’s concern regarding the potential for product labeling to mislead consumers by presenting only “good news” about nutrient content on the front of the package, which is the concern that the regulations governing nutrient content claims were intended to address.”
We think that the food industry was trying to head off anything resembling traffic light labels on food products, like they have in England, which has been proven to discourage people from buying products outright.
The jury is still out on whether or not including nutrition information on the front of packaging makes good marketing sense. The question remains is what will the final rule look like.