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From the Wall Street Journal:

"Nutrition advocates and food-industry groups are revving up for a fight over whether an additional label should go on the front of many packaged-food items to more clearly indicate whether they pose a health risk.

"A long-running debate over what those new labels should look like—and whether they should be required—is intensifying ahead of a White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health later this month.

"The Food and Drug Administration already requires most packaged foods to display a detailed nutritional label, but they are typically placed on the back or side of the item. Advocates want another, more condensed label on the front of the package that would visually flag certain health risks, such as high sugar or saturated-fat content, at a time of rising national rates of obesity among adults and children, as well as other diseases."

The Journal goes on to point out that "industry groups say there is insufficient real-world evidence to show such labels would influence consumer behavior. They also contend the FDA doesn’t have the authority to mandate front-of-package labels, which they said could pose a First Amendment threat, because companies could view them as a form of forced speech."

But Peter Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPIO), which is advocating for front labels, argues, "We already have information on the side of the pack, but it’s clear that it’s not having the desired impact to advance the public health.  This is a chance to make that information more prominent, more readable and more useful.”

KC's View:

While I understand why some folks want nutrition information to be more prominent, I'm not sure that this will make the difference, other than to make labels sort of boring and look-alike.  I think that a large part of the reason people don't read back-of-the-package labels is that they don't want to read back-of-the-package labels.

We all know they're there.  We just make other choices.  It is a shame, but so it goes.