January 29, 2010
Timothy D. Lytton publishes Signs of Change or Clash of Symbols? FDA Regulation of Nutrient Profile Labeling
Timothy D. Lytton (Albany Law School) has published Signs of Change or Clash of Symbols? FDA Regulation of Nutrient Profile Labeling, Health Matrix, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2010. The article is available for download on SSRN.
A new generation of food labels uses symbols and ratings on the front of packages and on supermarket shelves to indicate a product’s nutritional value. Proponents of these new labels assert that they help consumers make healthier dietary choices. Critics contend that the new labels are confusing and misleading. This article argues that, with some minor reforms, the FDA’s existing regulatory framework governing nutrient content claims on food labels is well suited to balance these competing considerations. With regard to the most novel and complex labels - those that rate the overall nutritional value of food products - based on detailed algorithms the article proposes that the FDA provide minimum standards that would prevent fraudulent or misleading claims while allowing for genuine experimentation and competition within the private sector that is likely to advance knowledge in the areas of nutrition and food labeling as a public health strategy.
Post by Donna M. Byrne, Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law
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