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Author Topic: Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.  (Read 3250 times)

Offline Marlina E

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Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.
« on: December 17, 2007, 10:35:29 AM »
By Brad Dorfman
Wed Nov 28, 2008 5:04 AM ET
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071128/hl_nm/food_labeling_dc_1

Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A new system for scoring the nutritional value of foods will find its way to grocery store shelves next year, the latest attempt to come up with a standard way to make healthier food choices.

The Overall Nutritional Quality Index (ONQI) was developed by a group of nutrition and health experts, led by David Katz, chairman of the Yale Prevention Research Center.

ONQI takes into account a number of factors in assigning a score of 1 to 100 for each food, including negatives like the amount of saturated fat, sugar and cholesterol in a food, and positives like fiber, nutrients, omega 3 fatty acids and the quality of the proteins.

The system will be introduced to grocery stores across the U.S. in 2008 by Topco Associates LLC, a grocery distribution and services cooperative owned by a number of independent grocers, including Wegmans, IGA, Hy-Vee and Food City, Topco said. The grocers that own Topco own about 13,000 stores.

The grocers are not obligated to use the scoring system, but it will be made available to them.

"You really shouldn't need a PhD in nutritional biochemistry to figure out which kids' breakfast cereal is healthier," Katz told Reuters during an interview this week.

The scoring system will let consumers compare different types of the same food, so they will be able to tell not only that fruit is healthier than candy, but which fruits or candy are more or less healthy.

"It's all candy, none of it is going to compare to broccoli," Katz said. "But face it, when you want candy, broccoli isn't going to do the job."

THE ROLL-OUT

The scoring initially will be featured on a handful of Topco's private label brands in the second half of 2008 and could be made available to other manufacturers that might want to use the system, Katz said.

But regardless of whether a manufacturer puts the score on its packages, grocers could put the scores on store shelves, next to price information, said Ric Jurgens, chairman of Topco and chief executive of Hy-Vee, in an interview.

Jurgens said Hy-Vee is considering putting the information on shelves next to the price of a product.

"ONQI creates a clear and concise measuring system and makes it easier for consumers to evaluate everyone's products," Jurgens said.

But Katz's group isn't the only one trying to develop a standard, comprehensive nutritional scoring system. Producers also are trying to get a seat at the table.

The Nutrition Rich Food Coalition, whose members include the National Dairy Council, National Pork Board and other commodity organizations, also is developing a system.

The nutrient-rich foods model also goes beyond things like sugar, fat and calories to look at the entire nutrition profile of foods. That index is currently in consumer research and the coalition hopes to have it in use by the middle of 2008.

U.S. consumers are seeing more food labels indicating health claims.

For example, Kraft Foods Inc, the world's largest food company, has a "sensible solutions" label for some products; General Mills splashes the words "whole grain" on its cereal boxes and its 100-calorie pack has become ubiquitous on store shelves.

(Editing by Carol Bishopric)
BA Environmental Studies UCSB
Nutrition Consultant

Offline Stan

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Re: Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2007, 10:33:29 PM »
Sounds to me like the "fox guarding the chicken coup."  I'm always skeptical of industry operated and funded programs like this....especially when they've been sucessful in getting msg and aspartame called spices on labeling now! When they label them as excitotoxins as they are and also that they could have harmful side
effects, then I'll say we've made some progress.

KellyT

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Re: Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2007, 10:21:46 AM »
Marlina,

Thanks for posting this. Very interesting. It seems like they are trying to make reading a label even more confusing! I just wish labels would be as simple as possible, like instead of using the percentages of daily requirement for a 2000 calorie diet (where a high fat item can be hidden), simply list the percentages inherent in the item (like fat 50%, protein 10%, carbohydrates 40%). This will probably never happen, though, since manufacturers would have to admit how terrible their products are!  ;)


Offline Marlina E

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Re: Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2007, 10:40:26 AM »
Good point!

I have always had this argument that packaged food should contain on it's front cover the ingredients and nutrition label. That's it!  Cuz that is what the food is that you are buying.  Period.  The label sould be better than what is currently used, your macronutrient breakdown is a good suggestion.  Of course coupled with the breakdown of macronutrients (fats: mono, poly, trans: carbs: fiber, sugars, alcohol, etc)

No pictures of happy people, food with fruit shown, even though it is not in the ingredients, and "serving suggestions" that are made to show the food as more appealing and healthy....that is all just marketing and image.  Garbage.

Can you imagine aisles of white boxes and cans with ingredient lists facing you!  No one would eat the stuff, they'd be turning to the fresh vibrant produce aisle!

Better yet, shop the periphery so you don't have to look at the stuff.
BA Environmental Studies UCSB
Nutrition Consultant

KellyT

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Re: Wider nutrition labeling systems headed to stores in U.S.
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2007, 03:37:25 PM »

Can you imagine aisles of white boxes and cans with ingredient lists facing you!  No one would eat the stuff, they'd be turning to the fresh vibrant produce aisle!


 :D  I love it!

There you go...that would take care of the processed food problem right there.