Conn. Dems want front-of-package food labeling

A pair of Connecticut Democratics is pushing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labels on the front of food packaging to display ingredients more prominently.
 
In recent a letter to the FDA, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, asked the agency to tighten its regulations on food marketing, including requiring front-of-package food labeling.

DeLauro said Tuesday consumers are more interested than ever before in how much sugar, caffeine and artificial colors and sweeteners are in the food they eat.

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“And that information needs to be presented in a clear and consistent manner, like front-of-package labeling that will make it easier to make the right decisions for themselves and their children,” she said. “These common-sense updates are long overdue and the FDA needs to finalize them as quickly as possible.”

The FDA is already in the process of tightening its food labeling requirements.

Earlier this year, the agency proposed new regulations as part of first lady Michelle Obama’s health and fitness initiative requiring more prominent display of calorie information, clarifying serving-size definitions and including of information about added sugars.

However, the new regulations stopped short of requiring labels be posted on the front of packages, which is a priority for public interest groups and some members of Congress.

If finalized, it would be the first time in 20 years the agency has updated its regulations for how companies list nutritional information on food.

While the Connecticut lawmakers lauded the FDA for the new regulations, calling them a “strong step in the right direction,” they say they don’t go far enough.

“Big food companies have spent billions of dollars making their products sweeter, saltier and fattier, distorting the American diet toward calorie-dense, nutrient poor foods,” said Blumenthal. “Consumers need truthful information about the products in their shopping carts, and it is time for companies to stop hiding the ball about what they are selling.”

Besides requiring front-of-package labeling, the lawmakers also want the FDA to establish a daily value for added sugar and clear definitions for terms such as whole wheat, natural, and healthy.