GMA Nutrition Keys

GMA releases new Front-of-Pack label concept

Coming soon to US grocery stores: a speed-read nutrition label on the front of food packages that provides large-type icons that list the amount of calories, fat, sodium and sugars. New labels, called Nutrition Keys by the food industry that created them, have been announced by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Marketing Assn.

The groups say they developed the labels in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign that in part calls for an easier way for shoppers, especially parents, to make informed food choices.

Not everyone thinks this is a great idea. One critic, author Marion Nestle, writes on her Food Politics blog: “Forget the consumer-friendly rhetoric. There is only one explanation for this move: heading off the FDA’s Front-of-Package (FOP) labelling initiatives.”

LA Times. Read more

COMMENT: Will “Nutrition Keys’ cut it?

GMA Nutrition Keys“[Marion] Nestle’s is not the only voice taking pot-shots at the GMA/FMI label initiative, and I’m fairly certain this preemptive strike to steal momentum from whatever plans the government has will fall short. I think the industry, which desperately wants the government out of its business, is doing a credible job of trying to meet evolving health and nutrition standards, but the constant attacks on its motives by feds, media and the activist crowd gives the politicians and government bureaucracies even more momentum to pile on. In two years, the Obama Administration has skillfully and successfully positioned the food industry as the great evil-doer in the nation’s war on obesity and other health issues related to food. We are dancing to their tune and the song is far from over.”

Bob Messenger, editor of The Morning Cup and foremost US food industry commentator

Yale experts debunk Nutrition Keys

Although the new FOP system, called Nutrition Keys, is intended to help consumers make healthier food choices, Yale health experts doubt its effectiveness … “What you really want is a food that is good for you not because of one nutrient but overall,” they say. “Nutrition facts, whether on the front or on the back of the package, will not answer that question for you. Facts are not knowledge. Knowledge requires the interpretation of facts.”

Yale Daily News. Read more