A group of U.S. manufacturers voluntarily launched a food labeling program this year to highlight foods meeting certain nutritional standards with a special label on the front of packaging. But the Food and Drug Administration last week said it would crack down on food companies making nutrition claims on package fronts, citing concerns the labels could mislead consumers about the health benefits of certain foods. FDA also plans to create a uniform labeling system by the end of next year. As a result the Smart Choices nutrition labeling program is coming to an end, at least for now.
According to Smart Choices officials the group is postponing active operations and will not encourage wider use of the logo as FDA investigates labeling issues. While Smart Choices is standing behind its nutritional criteria stating it is based on federal dietary guidelines a board member says the group supports the FDA's effort and applauds the concept of having one labeling system nationwide.
The FDA says it will work to define the criteria manufacturers must meet to make certain claims on product fronts. They plan to work with manufacturers, nutritionists and others to design a standardized system to help consumers select healthy foods.