Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Achieving Food Transparency Likely To Take Sometime


How far has the food transparency movement gone even after the introduction of new nutrition labels?

Dailycsr.com – 18 February 2019 – Around twenty five years ago, the “Food and Drug Administration”, in short the FDA, made it mandatory for all the “food and beverage packaging” to declare the “Nutritional Facts panel”. At present, more than seven hundred thousand products carry these labels featuring information such as “serving sizes, calories per serving, ingredients and nutritional content”.
The idea behind this implementation was to help the customers to “make informed choices” about what they are eating. Recent research, however, reveals that 77% percent of U.S. consumers mostly look through “Nutrition Facts label”. Nevertheless, the question remains whether these information are helping the people to avoid and reduce “diet-related chronic diseases”. To this, the help experts will provide you a canvas of answers that ranges from “yes to maybe to definitely not”.
Most of them are of the opinion that the labels could be an improvement over the “original format”, as the FDA had come out with an updated labels proposal in May 2016 for enhancing their “usefulness” besides reflecting the “latest nutritional research”. As a result, the new labels include information regarding “latest dietary intake research” demonstrating “what common or average consumption actually looks like”.
The new labels will feature customer oriented information which will depend on the size of the products they purchase, while omitting information like “Vitamin A and C” contents as most people in America, as per the latest research, do not have any deficiencies of these items. Moreover, the labels will instead include information about “Vitamin D and potassium” as many U.S. citizens showed deficiency towards them.
Highlighting the “link between sugar and disease”, the new labels will also feature information on “added sugars”. The afore mentioned changes have been incorporated as per the recommendation of the “U.S. Dietary Guidelines”. The deadline for complying with the new regulatory standards is “January 2020” for the food manufacturers that have an annual sale of over “$10 million”, while the smaller ones get a year more. In fact, many of them have “already rolled out the new labels on their packaging”.
In the words of the Whole Foods’ chief executive officer, John Mackey:
“People have a right to know what is in their food.”
Nevertheless, for some ingredients, the effort towards being transparent takes a “less clear cut” especially on GMOs. In the month of July 2016, the President Barack Obama brought the NBFDS into law and the latter guided the “U.S. Department of Agriculture” to create a set of national disclosing standards for foods that contained “bioengineered” ingredients. The final rule for the said standards came out on “December 21, 2018”.
However, most of the consumer groups have expressed their dissatisfaction over the “NBFDS standard”, whereby terming it as the “DARK Act”, striking a blow to the “food transparency” movement”. The Institute for Responsible Technology’s Executive Director, Jeffrey Smith, called the new set of standards “a blatant attempt to help food companies hide the GMO content from concerned consumers.”
Some of the food industry members showed resistance towards mandatory labelling while others embraced it with “a more proactive approach”. While General Mills stated:
“The bottom line is that regardless of where one stands on the safety of bioengineered foods and other ingredients, consumers should at least be able to make informed decisions about their food and know their options”.