US unveils food labels for healthy choice

 28 Feb 2014 - 6:08


WASHINGTON: In a country where obesity is rampant, First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured) yesterday aimed to make healthy choices easier for consumers by unveiling a series of proposed changes to 
food labels.
Calories, added sugars and more realistic serving information would feature more prominently on more than 700,000 products, in a revamp she described as the “label of the future.”
“This will be the new norm in providing consumers with information about the food they buy,” she said at a White House event. “So this is a huge deal.”
The changes will likely take years to implement but administration officials said they hope that the first major overhaul of nutrition labels in two decades will give Americans new tools for fighting the battle of the bulge.
If approved, the calorie count would be printed in a larger size than the rest, and a new line would detail “added sugars” — not just total sugars.
The changes would also attempt to eliminate confusion about how many servings a container holds, and how many calories are in a serving.
Under the new proposal, if a soda is 20 ounces (0.6 liters), the calorie count on the label would reflect a 20 ounce soda.
Currently, the advertised calorie count is much lower, since it reflects just one serving, and in a 20 ounce soda there are 2.5 servings. Single-packaged pastries, cookies and muffins also often say they contain two servings, which experts say can be misleading.
“You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into a grocery store, pick an item off the shelf, and tell whether it’s good for your family,” said Obama.
Labels would include mandatory potassium and vitamin D amounts for the first time.