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Front-of-Package Food and Beverage Labeling

New Directions for Research and Regulation
  • Jennifer L. Pomeranz
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jennifer L. Pomeranz, JD, MPH, Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, 309 Edwards Street, Box 208369, New Haven CT 06520-8369
    Affiliations
    Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
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      Nutrition-related labeling of packaged food is of increasing interest in the U.S. and internationally due to concerns about obesity and other nutrition-related diseases. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, and nutrition-related labeling is considered to be a method to both inform consumers and encourage product reformulation. In the U.S., there are labeling regulations guiding the use of claims on food and beverage (hereinafter “food”) packaging, but manufacturers still have great leeway in making such claims. The food industry also developed various front-of-package (FOP; see Table 1 for a list of acronym definitions) icons and schemes in an effort to draw attention to specific qualities of their products. The proliferation of icons and schemes, and both authorized and questionable claims, stimulated several entities within the federal government to reassess labeling regulations to ensure that labels provide factual, non-misleading information to assist consumers.
      Table 1Acronym definitions
      FDA Food and Drug Administration
      FDCA Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938
      FOP Front of Package
      FTC Federal Trade Commission
      NLEA Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990
      QHC Qualified Health Claim
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