November 24th, 2015

Proposed Food Labeling Law Would Clarify Use Of “Natural” And “Healthy”

By Chris Morran

Lawmakers in D.C. today introduced legislation intended to overhaul the marketing and labeling of processed foods — revising everything from the nutrition panel to the ingredients list to the use of terms like “natural” and “healthy.” First, the Act directs the Secretary for the Dept. of Health and Human Services to create a standard label for the front of a product. The idea is to craft something that clearly displays information about calories, serving sizes, and important nutrients, with the goal that consumers will be able to use this panel to easily compare otherwise similar products.

The bill gives HHS two years to come up with an acceptable definition for how the terms “natural” and “healthy” could be used on food labels. As it stands now, the bill would bar foods from being labeled “healthy” if less than half of its grains are whole grains or if it contains more than 10% the daily value of added sugar per serving.

“Food labels should inform — not mislead — consumers as they grocery shop,” says William Wallace, CU Policy Analyst. “Consumers deserve labeling that is simple, straightforward, and meaningful, so they can easily compare products and make healthy choices for their families.”

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