ADA Applauds Institute of Medicine's Front-of-Package Report, Reinforces Need for Consultations with Registered Dietitians
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The American Dietetic Association supports a report released today by the Institute of Medicine calling for a standardized system for front-of-package food labeling that can be easily understood by most consumers. The report, "Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols," was authored under a committee of food, nutrition, business and communications professionals, including members of the American Dietetic Association, and intends to aid consumers in making informed and healthful decisions when they shop.
"As more and more nutrition information is thrust upon consumers from credible and non-credible sources alike, this report is a great step in the right direction to helping Americans decipher the healthfulness of the foods they buy," said registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association President Sylvia Escott-Stump. "Education of the public is our greatest tool in helping Americans lead healthier lives, and this proposed system is another means towards that end."
The report, which recommends eliminating the current front-of-package labels that research suggested did not resonate with consumers, outlines the need for a "shift in strategy, a move away from systems that mostly provide nutrition information without clear guidance about its healthfulness, and toward one that encourages healthier food choices through simplicity, visual clarity, and the ability to convey meaning without written information."
"We know that the numerous front-of-package labeling systems currently in use have not resonated with the public because of the variations from product to product and store to store. This new system is designed to provide clear, concise and consistent information across all products and stores," Escott-Stump said. "Ensuring everyone, no matter their age, education level or background, knows how the system works will be a key step to its acceptance and effectiveness."
According to ADA's Nutrition and You: Trends 2011 public opinion survey, 67 percent of consumers rate diet and nutrition as "very important," while 37 percent list food package labels as very credible sources of nutrition information