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FDA Issues New Nutritional Labeling Standards

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in October it would issue proposed standards that companies must follow for the nutritional information they place on the front of food packaging.

The FDA hopes the new standards will clear up confusion over the surge of nutritional claims manufacturers recently have begun placing on the front of their food packages--particularly the Smart Choice program. Smart Choice--which several major food manufacturers launched last year--placed a seal of approval for healthy eating on many foods that nutritionists generally believe to be unhealthy, such as sugary cereals and fatty mayonnaises.

According to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, manufacturers may choose to display nutritional information on the front of food packages. If they do, they must comply with the new rules. Hamburg said she expected the new front-of-product label requirements to include information on saturated fat, salt, added sugar and calories.

The FDA expects to issue the proposed standards early next year and finalize the rules by the end of 2010.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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