September 10, 2007

FDA might get it half-way right

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration took the first step toward new food labeling, inviting food companies, trade groups, watchdog organizations, medical experts and its overseas counterparts to share how front-label symbols, like the 'traffic light' system used in Britain, can improve public health.

Last January, I told you England has easy to understand symbols, pointing out the RightSize of fat, salt and sugar.

I suggested then that this only covers about 60 percent of the food we eat. The other 40 percent is eaten away from the home and we still don't have any way of figuring out the calories, the fats, the salt or the sugar in our restaurant meals.

How much fatter do our children have to get before we take action? How much fatter do we have to get before we take action?

Let pressure our presidential candidates now to consider food labels on menus.

FDA Asks Groups to Consider Food Labels

WASHINGTON (AP) — Next month, General Mills Inc. and Kellogg Co. will begin emblazoning their breakfast cereals with symbols that summarize complex nutritional information — part of the growing use of logos to steer harried grocery shoppers toward healthier choices.

The proliferation of such symbols is a worldwide phenomenon, with government regulators in Britain, Sweden and elsewhere establishing logo systems that concisely indicate how nutritious food products are. In the United States, however, corporations have been left to devise their own schemes. That's led to a patchwork of systems that some fear further confuses consumers already unsure about how to eat wisely.

Here's the way my labeling would look at restaurants:

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