Thursday, October 20, 2011

FOP - Final Recommendations

I am excited to say that the Institute of Medicine has released Phase II of its commissioned study on Front of Pack labeling systems.  In Phase II, it recommends how a standardized program should look and be implemented.
[I do not have time to read all of the 224 pages (now), and you know that I really do want to.]
There was a live report on the release this morning.  I caught just a bit before I had to run to class, notably, someone asked about short fall nutrients.  If you remember from my previous FOP posts, the Phase 1 report had made recommendations on what items to include on the label - just not how to do so.  The person asking that question was referred to the first report (where it is decided to only address the items that we are encouraged to limit).  The speakers did reiterate their desire to align the system with the DGA 2010 and with the NFP. 
If this is the first you've read about this - I suggest you click on the hyperlink above as I have detailed this initiative in several past posts.
Ok - here is the bottom line as I understand it from first and brief glance.
The recommendation that the IOM is giving to the FDA for final rule is this:
* Items to highlight
  • Saturated and Trans fat
  • Calories (per household serving size - i.e. 1/2 cup)
  • Sodium
  • Added Sugars  <<>>
* Foods to include
  • pretty much everything (snacks, cereals, dairy, breads. packaged foods, meats - everything)
  • bulk foods and produce will have shelf tags (instead of a FOP label)
* Point system
  • They did not choose the multiple traffic light,however the proposed label has three circles and each circle may receive a check (see below)
  • Each item (combined trans/sat fat, sodium, sugar) has a set criteria of the maximum amount a serving can have and be considered healthy (I haven't read the qualifiers yet).  For trans fat it is usually zero.  Anyways, if it meets the BEST category it gets a point or check - if it does not, it gets a zero.  In the food category of cereal for example, the choices with 3 checks or 3 points will be healthier than a cereal with 2, 1, or zero.  
 There is so much more to read and consider but it may have to wait for me.  I have given you a pretty decent over view. The FDA is likely to take the info and make a proposed rule.  If it is like the menu and vending label "proposed rules", there will be time for more comment before a mandate is given.  [I noticed that some of the popular press outlets are running a story on these recommendations as well  - so you may also see this in your morning papers]
I am very excited that we are making progress - as you know, I get very frustrated at the lack of consistent and  complete, nutrient transparency when I am shopping.

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