FDA’s New Anti-Obesity Plan Gets Mixed Reaction

Mar 15, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The Food and Drug Administration unveiled its proposals to fight the growing rise of obesity in the country with new voluntary labeling guidelines that would make it easier for
consumers to count calories and get nutritional information.

The plan calls for food labels to put the number of calories contained in a serving in a larger font size making it easier for consumers to read.

In the cases of some foods such as potato chips, manufacturers are being asked to include the total calories in a bag in addition to serving counts.

The proposal was met with approval by food industry groups such as the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

“Secretary Thompson has been great about looking at ‘what are the positives we can do,’ ” said Stephanie Childs, a GMA spokeswoman.

“He’s looking at ways to encourage and empower Americans to do what they can to make their lives healthier.”

Others were less impressed.

Suzanne Havala Hobbs, a registered dietitian, assistant professor at UNC Chapel Hill and columnist with the Charlotte Observer called the FDA’s approach “kind of a letdown.”

Ms. Havala Hobbs said, “I don’t think we can rely on the food industry to voluntarily make these changes. We need consistent changes throughout the food industry and we need
them now.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the FDA plan? Can American consumers rely on the food industry to voluntarily
make the changes being requested by the FDA?
Anderson – Moderator

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