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E-Newsletter: Making Food Labels More Transparent

April 18, 2018
Blog

Dear Neighbors,

Food labels play an important role in our nation’s battle against obesity and diet-related disease. Unfortunately, federal labeling rules have not kept up with the changing marketplace, and food labels do not always provide the clear information that you and your family need to evaluate products and make healthy choices. That is why I introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act.

My bill will:

1)      Direct the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to establish a single, standard front of package nutrition labeling system

2)      Strengthen current law to target trends in marketing that confuse or mislead consumers when they are attempting to compare food products.  Specifically, the legislation will require new guidelines for the use of the words “healthy” or “made with whole grain.”

3)      Prevent food manufacturers from making health claims for foods with high levels of added sugars by adding to existing regulations that already ban such claims for foods high in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. 

4)      Require the FDA to establish an online database for food labels. It should be easily sortable and searchable by the public. It would include the nutrition facts panel, ingredients, an image of the front of package, allergy warnings, health claims, nutrient-content claims, and other information required by law to be printed in the label.

5)      Require straightforward food labels that will help families make informed and healthy choices when comparing food products at the supermarket.

These changes will make it easier for those throughout New Jersey and our country, to find the foods that are best for them and their families.

Below are examples of the changes the Food Labeling Modernization Act (FLMA) will make:

Front of Package

Margarine advertised as “0g Trans Fat” but is high in saturated fat.

FLMA Solution: Trans fat claims can only be made if product is low in saturated fat, or if label discloses the level of saturated fat prominently next to trans fat claim.

Misleading “no artificial sweeteners” claims

Example: Fruit Loops with “Natural Flavors” but plenty of artificial colors.

FLMA Solution: Require the presence of all natural and artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavorings to be prominently stated on the front of package.

If you have a moment, please respond to this email or contact my office to share your thoughts on the Food Labeling Modernization Act or anything else you might have in mind.

Sincerely,

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.