Nutritional Packaging Ratings and Goals
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Front-of-package Nutrition Rating Systems
In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols (front-of-package, or "FOP" labeling) issued a report examining the advantages and disadvantages of current FOP labeling. The committee found that FOP labeling would be most useful to consumers, if it highlighted the amounts of nutrients of greatest health concern--calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. The report does not include recommendations for a specific FOP system, but it reaches six conclusions, as follows.
1. FOP labeling is best geared toward the general population. However, the committee recognized that an appropriately designed system may be useful for determining products that may be marketed to children and may revisit this issue during Phase II of the study.
2. The most useful primary purpose of FOP labeling would be to help consumers identify and select foods based on the nutrients most strongly linked to public health concerns for Americans.
3. Regardless of the type of FOP system, it would be useful to declare calorie and serving size information prominently in FOP labeling.
4. The most critical nutritional components to include in FOP labeling are calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.
5. There is insufficient evidence at this time to suggest that including the following nutrients would be useful in all types of FOP labeling: total fat, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, total or added sugars, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals (other than sodium).
6. Several options exist for setting criteria for two types of rating systems, nutrient-specific information (i.e., systems displaying guideline daily amounts) and summary indicators based on nutrient thresholds (i.e., systems with a single icon), but further testing of consumer use and understanding is required to assess their overall viability.
Phase II of the study will focus on issues related to consumer understanding and use of FOP systems.
Healthy Vision for 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced its Healthy People 2020 objectives, which set a number of 10-year goals designed to improve America's public health. The goals encompass a wide range of topics and come in the form of specific numerical targets:
School Nutrition Programs. The Healthy People 2020 goals call for increasing access to healthy foods at the school level:
* Increase by 10 the number of states with nutrition standards for foods and beverages given to children in child care (from 24 to 34 states).
* A 12 percentage point increase in the percentage of schools that offer nutritious foods and beverages outside of school meals (increase from 9.3 to 21.3%).
* A 12 percentage point increase in the percentage of school districts that require schools to make fruits and vegetables available whenever food is offered or sold (increase from 6.6 to 18.6%).
Diet Composition. The goals call for changing the composition of Americans' diets by increasing or decreasing the amounts of various foods and nutrients consumed:
* Fruits: Increase from 0.5 to 0.9 cup equivalents per 1,000 calories.
* All vegetables: Increase from 0.8 to 1.1 cup equivalents per 1,000 calories.
* Dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes, specifically: Increase from 0.1 to 0.3 cup equivalents per 1,000 calories.
* Whole grains: Increase from 0.3 to 0.6oz equivalents per 1,000 calories.
* Solid fats: Reduce from 18.9 to 16.7% of daily calories.
* Added sugars: Reduce from 15.7 to 10.8% of daily calorie intake.
* Solid fats and added sugars, combined: Reduce from 34.6 to 29.8% of daily calorie intake.
* Saturated fat: Reduce from 11.3 to 9.5% of daily calories.
* Sodium: Reduce from 3,641mg to 2,300mg per day.
* Calcium: Increase from 1,118mg to 1,300mg per day.
Iron Deficiency. HHS aims to reduce instances of iron deficiency for several groups:
* Children 1-2 years old: Reduce from 15.9 to 14.3%.
* Children 3-4 years old: Reduce from 5.3 to 4.3%.
* Females 12-49 years old: Reduce from 10.4 to 9.4%.
* Pregnant females: Reduce from 16.1 to 14.5%.pf