FDA Wants Food Producers to Obey the Rules

  FDA criticised food manufacturers for false information on packings of cereal, crackers and other processed foods.

  The agency intends to take serious measures against inaccurate food labeling. The FDA did not name specific products or give a timeline for enforcement.

  U.S. manufacturers, including Kellogg, Kraft Foods and General Mills, rolled out their so-called Smart Choices program last year, amid growing concern about obesity rates. The green labels appear on the front of foods that meet certain standards for calories per serving and fat content.

  But consumer advocates complain about negligent standards for the program, with logos appearing on everything from frozen sweets to sugary cereals.

  The agency is developing proposed nutritional standards that would have to be met before manufacturers place such claims on their packages. If industry would cooperate with the FDA to develop standardized labeling then all Americans could trust it and use to build better diets.

  There are more than a half-dozen labels crowding grocery packages, including the American Heart Association's heart-shaped logo, Giant Food Store's Healthy Ideas box and Supervalu's Nutritional IQ logo.

  The FDA wants to find out whether one particular approach would make it easier for consumers to select healthy foods. Hamburg pointed to the success of the U.K.'s traffic light system, which uses red, yellow and green lights to highlight nutritional quality.

  The Grocery Manufacturers Association said its members will work with the FDA to provide useful nutritional information to consumers. The Washington-based group — which includes Kraft, Nestle USA and most other large food processors — said companies already have reformulated 10,000 products to make them healthier.

  Such changes includes ConAgra's move to reduce sodium in its soup, hot dogs and other products by 20 percent, and General Mills adding fiber to its cereals, according to the Associated Press' report.

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