The FDA recently revealed proposed new food labels, with changes intended to help consumers make healthy choices. While I wrote here at Natural Society a few weeks ago that the new labels are a far cry from perfect—still missing the consumer-demanded GMO labeling and even fluoride labeling—there are additional concerns that should also be addressed.
The Alliance for Natural Health helps to bring up some very valid points and offers consumers a way to give feedback to the FDA.
In addition to the obviously omitted GMO labeling, the main complaints include:
- Sugar alcohols don’t have to be included under the “added sugars” on the label unless the food is labeled as “sugar free”. The ANH says that while this is an improvement over the old rules, it could still give a loophole for artificial sweeteners in the industry.
- Recommended levels for vitamins C and D are too low. Even though the FDA agrees that people need to consume more than they recommend, they haven’t changed the recommended allowances on food labels. For instance, the recommended daily value on food labels is 800 IU when around 1,000 to 5,000 IU each day is optimal. Further, the label assumes the same amount whether the consumer is a small child or an “obese adult”.
- Missing from the label is fluoride content. The FDA says it is considering whether to allow for voluntary listing of fluoride inclusion. Currently, fluoride cannot be listed on a nutrition label even if a food maker wants to put it there. Fluoride is a dangerous neurotoxin, but the FDA isn’t sure that’s something you need to worry about.
The ANH recognizes there are some positive changes on the new food labels—including the addition of an “added sugars” entry, no longer featuring a “calories from fat” entry, and larger calorie listings. But, they say, these omissions are a major oversight and need to be corrected.
Big Food says the FDA goes too far, and has proposed their own nutrition labels as a sort of industry compromise. For their part , the food companies have overestimated the cost of updating labels and say they prefer leaving the label as it is and instating voluntary front-of-package and GMO labeling.
The ANH is calling on consumers to speak up about the shortcomings of the new labels by addressing an email to the FDA. They provide the form for you to take action here.