The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: 202-332-9110

Strike Two for Front-of-Package Food Labeling

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson


In 2009, the food industry's fatally flawed Smart Choices
labeling program became a national laughingstock for putting its logo
on junk foods like Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes. Today, the industry
is striking out again with its new front-of-package Nutrition Keys. It's a scheme consisting of confusing icons that will be largely ignored by consumers.

It's unfortunate the industry wouldn't adopt a more effective
system or simply wait until the Food and Drug Administration developed a
system that would be as useful to consumers as possible.

The whole point of front-label nutrition information or
symbols should be to convey quickly and simply how healthful a food is.
A system with green, yellow, and red dots to indicate whether a food
has a good, middling, or poor nutritional quality would probably be a
lot more effective than industry's system. Alternatively, numerical
ratings from -100 to +100 or 0 to 10 would allow people to easily
compare one brand of food to another. In contrast, Nutrition Keys
system appears to be designed to distract consumers' attention from, not
highlight, the high content of sodium, added sugars, or saturated fat
in all too many processed foods.

Since 1971, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has been a strong advocate for nutrition and health, food safety, alcohol policy, and sound science.