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F.D.A. Reassessing Serving Size

February 15, 2010

A recent article in the NY Times peaked my interest in writing on one way the federal government can and should be involved in food policy issues in the United States.

While there is must talk on the role of government in various food issues, I believe that overall, it most certainly has a responsibility to bring a certain level of transparency to the food industry by regulating food marketing practices and insuring food safety in its production. It’s probably the one thing individuals from each side of the spectrum can support. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see this article describing the FDA’s proposed policy change to update serving size criteria.

The article explains that the FDA “wants to encourage manufacturers to post vital nutritional information, including calorie counts, on the front of food packages” to “give people a jolt of reality before they reach for another handful of chips.” While calorie posting hasn’t been necessarily proven to change people’s eating habits, I do see the suggestion as using marketing to help consumers, instead of trick them.

But what’s really great about this proposal is that the powers at be are recognizing that “the urgency of the message could be muted by [the] longstanding problem,” of misleading serving sizes, which, “for many packaged foods are just too small.” Thus, “the calorie counts that go with them are often misleading.”

So kudos FDA! Keep encouraging. If you can’t get calories posted on the front of products (which I don’t think is wholly necessary), try to get those nutritional facts on the back to be more truthful.

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