by Marion Nestle
Sep 27 2011

Food industry thinks name change will disguise bad labeling scheme

Does a name change make a difference?  The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) evidently think so.

They are changing the name of their preemptive front-of-package (FOP) labeling scheme from “Nutrition Keys” to “Facts Up Front.”

The new name comes with a new website, a new organization (FactsUpFront.org), and a $50 million marketing campaign.

Its purpose?  As I have discussed on more than one occasion (see here and here, for example), GMA and FMI are engaged in a blatant, in-your-face attempt to undermine the FDA’s current efforts to rationalize FOP labeling.

The FDA engaged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to produce two research reports on FOP labeling.  The first IOM report, released a year ago, concluded that FOP labels should disclose only calories and three “bad-for-you” nutrients: saturated fats, trans-fats, and sodium.  I thought the report made sense but that the omission of sugars was a mistake.

The IOM also said that information about good-for-you nutrients—protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals—would only confuse consumers and would be likely to encourage food companies to unnecessarily fortify products with these nutrients as a marketing strategy.

The second IOM report, according to press accounts, is due out sometime in October.  The FDA is waiting for this report before starting rulemaking on FOP labels, an interminable process at best.

In the meantime, the food industry has jumped the gun.  The Facts Up Front website justifies this scheme on the basis of the Dietary Guidelines:

To ensure that consumers receive consistent and reliable information, the labeling system also adheres to current guidelines and regulations from FDA and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services.

…Manufacturers may also choose to include information on up to two “nutrients to encourage.” These nutrients – potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron – are needed to build a “nutrient-dense” diet, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Yes they are, but not on the front of food packages.  It’s obvious why GMA and FMI are doing this—they know that nobody will look at or understand the label.

But they should not be doing this.  It is the wrong thing to do.

On the topic of name changes:  The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has just changed its name to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).  I’m not a member of the ADA, can only speculate on what this is about, and have no comment.

 

Comments

  • Ashley Colpaart, MS RD
  • September 27, 2011
  • 2:23 pm

Oh come on Marion….we want your response on the name change.

Academy?

No American?

No Food?

I just attended the Food and Nutrition Conference in San Diego where they announced it. There was some grumbling.

Marion Nestle
  • Marion
  • September 27, 2011
  • 2:28 pm

@Ashley Colpaart: You have answered your own question. I don’t need to say a word.

  • Suzanne
  • September 27, 2011
  • 3:57 pm

Here’s the connection to the ADA name change, in my opinion:

“American Dietetic Association Wants to be Sole Authority on Nutrition”:

http://healthimpactnews.com/2011/more-claptrap-from-the-american-dietetic-association/

  • Suzanne
  • September 27, 2011
  • 4:08 pm

Take a look at this article on Fooducate that speculates on the ADA name change, and how the organization can improve its reputation with the public (particularly, the INFORMED public):

http://blog.fooducate.com/2011/09/25/the-ada-needs-to-change-more-than-just-its-name/

  • Boots
  • September 28, 2011
  • 11:41 pm

These nutrients – potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron – are needed to build a “nutrient-dense” diet,it’s pretty good still.

[...] (h/t to Marion Nestle) [...]

[...] a subsequent report, a Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI)jumped a gun.  Their preemptive trademark enclosed “positive” nutrients such as vitamins and fiber [...]

  • Nick
  • November 7, 2011
  • 2:53 pm

Some dietitians do great work, despite the ADA umbrella organization they belong to. But this name change is a screaming announcement that “we’re out of touch with this century.” Why? Because their acronym is going to be AND, a term which internet search engines will exclude. Since a lot of the ADA leadership have @aol.com accounts, and call software developers “IT People,” this is not a surprise.

So after all the posturing about how critical the RD profession is to the health care industry (and their ever-deepening complicity with big food), now the put their professionals into a world where even google can’t find them. In the 21st century, if you have no digital footprint, you don’t exist

[...] called “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author and nutrition professor Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here’s how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[...] FOP labels: calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium and sugars. Then the food industry jumped in with its own “Facts Up Front” labeling plan.   You still get the four, but food makers then can add whatever they think you might like to [...]

[...] labeling scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own [...]

[…] scheme it calls “Facts Up Front.” But as Food Politics author Marion Nestle has explained, this is an obvious end-run around the feds. Here is how the food industry describes its own […]

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