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I’m confused — and mad — about the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to delay the implementation of the much-needed new food label, the iconic rectangle of nutrition information that adorns food packages.

Eighteen months ago, then-first lady Michelle Obama announced that she was “thrilled” that the FDA had finalized a new and improved label. It was going to be required on all packaged foods by July 2018. But now the FDA has proposed pushing back the required date to January 2020.

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  • If the FDA is truly invested and committed to protecting the health of the public, WHY is it delaying the release of the new nutrition facts label? Industry needs to be held accountable for providing updated nutrition facts information in order to communicate effectively with consumers at the point of purchase where the majority of food decisions are made that affect individuals and families – in the aisles of the grocery store. Policies and practices need to benefit PUBLIC HEALTH, not make life easier or less costly for food industry giants.

  • Great article Joan! As an exercise physiologist I am always concerned with making the right food choices for myself and for my students. There is so much misinformation floating around about what is good for you and fad diets, that it becomes confusing and therefore difficult in getting the facts. Updating food labels and making important information more accessible is vital to the well being of us all!

  • Such an eye-opener, Joan.

    It makes you wonder, why are they delaying this? There must be something more important to the FDA than the health of the general American population that causes them to push this required date back. But isn’t that their job, to serve the people?

    Overall, a well written article. I have started to see some of these new labels on “healthier” products, setting a great role model for other companies to step up. I am looking forward to seeing how this will play out.

  • As a registered dietitian, I am puzzled by, and concerned about, the FDA’s decision to delay bringing much-needed nutrition information to consumers by way of the food label. What’s the hold up all about? Who knows, but I can’t even imagine why the agency would withhold vital statistics about calories, fat, added sugar, sodium, and many other nutrients from the people who need it most to help manage their health.

  • I couldn’t agree more and am also dismayed that the FDA plans to delay implementation of the new food labels. Many consumers rely on food labels to make informed decisions about what they eat, and the new focus on calories and added sugars is a welcome change. Let’s get these changes implemented!

  • Very well articulated, Dr. Blake. Coming from a family plagued with obesity, diabetes and cancer, I strive to learn, for my offspring and for myself, what I can do to address the genetic risks contributing to these often fatal diseases. I have learned that controlling what and how much we eat directly impacts these risks as well as, simply, the quality of life on a daily basis. I cannot imagine the justification for delaying improved labeling of nutrition facts!!

  • The nutrition facts label plays an important role in providing relevant nutrition information to the consumer at point of purchase. I’m thrilled that stating real serving sizes is a component of the new label. This is one more tool to assist consumers in making accurate decisions about the amount of calories they’re consuming daily.

    Joan identifies that 77 percent of Americans use the existing nutrition facts label always, most of the time or sometimes when buying foods. Why postpone the opportunity for consumers to utilize a new and improved nutrition facts label as part of their nutrition strategy to improve their diet and ultimately their overall health?

  • Consumers have waited long enough for new, more transparent food labels. Kudos, Joan, for discussing the importance of updating food labels to inform and educate consumers. No reason to further delay getting such information to consumers to help them feed themselves and their families in a more nutritious and mindful way.

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