“Consumers deserve clear, accurate information about the food they purchase in order to make healthy choices for themselves and their families,” the lawmakers wrote
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, led their colleagues in calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish a front-of-package nutrition label system for food products sold in the United States. The lawmakers’ letter comes as research points to the importance of nutrition-related information in countering obesity and diet-related disease, which contribute to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year and increased health care costs.
“Establishing a standard for front-of-package labeling is a significant step the FDA can take to bring clarity to consumers and empower them to make healthier choices,” wrote Blumenthal and DeLauro, who were joined in the letter by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Nanette Barragán (D-CA).
Dozens of countries have already taken steps to adopt front-of-package nutrition labels, and the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health has called for the development of a similar system. While the FDA is working on redefining the “healthy” nutrient content claim and implementing a voluntary “healthy” symbol, the members expressed concerns the changes would lead to a price premium for healthier products, making them less accessible for many Americans.
“We are concerned these policies will not go far enough in protecting consumers’ health,” the members wrote, while urging the FDA to, “adopt a mandatory front-of-package nutrition labeling system aimed at addressing overconsumption of salt, sugar, and saturated fat from our packaged food supply.”
The text of the letter to the FDA is available here.