New report on food labeling recommendations

October 13, 2010 3:26:27 PM PDT
Knowing what is in the food we eat and controlling the types of things we eat is a major part of living healthy.

A report out Wednesday says that food labeling needs some major changes.

The report is from The Institute of Medicine.

They are some of the most respected scientists in the country and they serve to advise the government.

What they are saying is that on the front of the package, consumers need to see the food factors that make the biggest health differences in our health.

Our grocery stores are well stocked and they offer a wonderful variety of products, many of them telling you why they are good for you.

There are items that tout their "reduced fat and sodium ", some that tell you they have "fiber and whole grains", "less fat", although less than what is not clear.

Many now have symbols and labels on the front of the packaging to make their health appeal obvious.

Some say "Sensible Solution" for example, or "Smart Choices", or information about your daily requirements.

But is this more about selling than it is about health?

"They are based on criteria based more on marketing purposes than anything else. These symbols are about marketing processed food products and the FDA has decided there are too many of them and they're too confusing," said Prof. Marion Nestle, of New York University.

Professor Marion Nestle is an author and food activist.

She says consumers want information, but are now being bombarded with confusing signals.

Wednesday's carefully researched report proposes simplifying and standardizing the information.

They looked at what they felt were the most important nutrients which make a difference in our health.

They recommend that on the front of packages: consumers see information on calories, saturated fat, Trans fats and sodium, or salt,

"These are the four that are associated with health problems in America today," Nestle said.

Shoppers liked the idea

"I think it's great, I think it's great. We should eat better and the children should eat better. I have three grown children, and the children these days are very heavy. They're obese. They're obese it's terrible," Eileen Olivo, a shopper, said.

Calories, salt, and fat; too much of these make our rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity go sky high.

Prof. Nestle said the committee did not include sugar because it was covered in the calories.

She would have like sugar included.

The FDA will now look at this report and get the reaction from citizens and manufacturers.