A new food labeling system will be introduced across the country in the next few months, in an effort to assist people in identifying and choosing healthier food products. According to a report from Sky News, the new food labels will utilize a “traffic light” system, where colors help consumers identify if levels of salt, sugar, calories, fat and saturated fat are within a healthy range.
“The main thing that you notice at the moment is that labels are different for each different supplier,” food nutritionist Nicole Berberian told Sky News. “They could be on the front, they could be on the side, they could be color coded, they could be randomly color coded, so it’s very difficult to know what to look for.”
New food labeling
Under the new food labeling system, the Huffington Post, reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intends to utilize a unified color-oriented system, though the final design has yet to be determined.
One proposed template for the food labels employs a 15-point system, where green, which stands for the healthiest products, would have an overall rating between 11 and 15 points. Less healthier products would have a yellow label (6 to 10 points) or a red label (0 to 5 points).
The colors will not only allow consumers to make quick decisions when it comes to product purchases, the food labeling system will also help individuals who are planning meals for weight loss.
While the traffic light labeling system will be faster for consumers, the change will likely be a reluctant one for food manufacturers.
“It’s against the industry’s interest to help the consumer make better choices because then they’ll sell less food,” said to the Associated Press Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “If the population is going to lose weight, it’s going to eat less food, so that means less business for them.”
Combating obesity, which has more than tripled in the last 25 years, means more than just portion control though. Experts who support the new food labeling plan would like to also see the FDA find a way to identify how food ingredients are processed. In addition to fat, sugar and salt, processed foods contain a number of other potentially unhealthy ingredients and identifying them would also help consumers make healthier choices.