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FDA Will Finally Change The Way Food Gets Labeled

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Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist
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With heightened concern surrounding our country's obesity epidemic and the overall well-being of our citizens in decline, it's a wonder that a change in the format by which we assess our daily diets hasn't happened sooner. But alas, it seems that the FDA might make some tweaks to the nutrition labels that have been the same for the past 20 years.

There's no estimate on how long it will take for the new labels will be released, but the FDA has sent guidelines for the new format to the White House, which is a start. The FDA has been working on the issue for a decade.

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest told the Guardian that there are several key points the FDA should look into changing: the current labels are listed in grams, the metric system that many Americans don't quite grasp; the calorie content isn't as prominent as it should be; the calories from fat information is irrelevant; and labels don't distinguish between the sugars and syrups that are naturally occurring in foods and drinks and those that are added when they are processed or prepared.

Nutritionists are also pushing for front-of-package labeling, serving sizes that make more sense, and in the case of whole wheat bread, actually listing the percent of whole wheat.

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Says the Guardian:

According to an Agriculture Department study released this month, a greater percentage of adults reported using the nutrition facts panel and other claims on food packages "always or most of the time" in 2009 and 2010 compared with two years earlier. The USDA study said 42% of working adults used the panel always or most of the time in 2009 and 2010, while older adults used it 57% of the time during that period.

So as people are increasingly becoming aware of their health and what they're putting into their bodies, it's important that they're given the tools to interpret information about their food correctly.