WASHINGTON—The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is criticizing the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) call for a single, standardized front-of-packaging (FOP) symbol system to appear on all food and beverage products in place of other systems already in use as an “untested, interpretive approach."
GMA contends its “Facts Up Front" nutrition labeling system, which was launched in January in conjunction with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), is a real-world program that delivers real value to real consumers in real time. The program was developed through extensive consumer testing that showed consumers want fact-based information on calories, saturated fat, sugar and sodium, and where appropriate, nutrients to encourage.
According to the GMA, the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols report adds a perspective to the national dialogue about front-of-pack nutrition labeling. In the meantime, food and beverage companies have developed a real-world program that delivers real value to real consumers in real time.
“Consumers have told us that they want simple and easy to use information and that they should be trusted to make decisions for themselves and their families. The most effective programs are those that consumers embrace, and consumers have said repeatedly that they want to make their own judgments, rather than have government tell them what they should and should not eat. That is the guiding principle of Facts Up Front, and why we have concerns about the untested, interpretive approach suggested by the IOM committee."
The IOM report recommended FDA develop, test, and implement a single, standard symbol system to appear on all food and beverage products, in place of other systems already in use. The symbol system should show calories in household servings on all products. Foods and beverages should be evaluated using a point system for saturated and trans fats and sodium, and added sugars. The more points a food or beverage has, the healthier it is.