Advocates calling for health warnings on the front of food packages

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Posted at 2:00 PM, Sep 26, 2022

There's a new push to mandate labels that health risks like high sugar or saturated fat are flagged on the front of packaged food.

Nutrition advocates are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to make this change.

It's an issue that's expected to come up this Wednesday at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.

“If there was a healthy sticker on the front of products, you wouldn't have to think about it,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition who researches food politics.

She wasn’t involved in the petition but points to research around how the front of package labels have worked in other countries. She says they've seen small but significant drops in people buying foods that have those warning labels on them.

“You don't have to sit there and compute the number of calories, or the percent of sugars, or any of those kinds of things most people don't understand food labels in the United States. They're way too complicated,” Nestle said.

Some U.S. Companies have added voluntary labels on the front of packages showing things like calories and sodium but critics say these don't go far enough.

The Consumer Brands Association said it supports fact-based labeling solutions but wants to ensure that changes made to front labels are backed up by research that confirms their benefit to consumers.

The FDA told Scripps it plans to expand its research on front-of-package labeling as it monitors how it's being implemented around the world.