by Marion Nestle
Sep 7 2009

FDA to research food labels

The FDA just announced in the Federal Register that it plans to take a good hard look at public understanding of what’s currently on food labels.  It says it will do an Internet survey of 43,000 people to:

  • Identify attitudes and beliefs to do with health, diet and label usage
  • Determine relationships between these attitudes and beliefs, demographics, and actual label use
  • Look at the relevance of these attitudes
  • Identify barriers to label use

I hope they ask me!

What is this about?  Let me take a wild guess: Health claims?  Smart Choices labels?  Anything that makes people think highly processed foods are good for them?  Or distracts from the Nutrition Facts panel?

The FDA is required to allow 60 days for comment.   Tell the FDA you think the more research it does on food labels, the better!

  • Janet Camp

    Thanks for the alert. Whenever I get into a conversation with people at stores or elsewhere about food/nutrition, “the label” usually comes up. I find that most of these people have never even noticed “the label” or don’t bother to really look at it and use it as information about their choices. When I point out specifics on the label, they often show surprise as if I had just dug up some rare and valuable artifact.

    I will let the FDA know that it might be useful to go to an additional, simple, clear system on the front of the package (I think you have referenced the UK’s traffic light system) that would work for even the most feeble among us.

  • Here’s the link for electronic comment on the study:

  • Pingback: FDA to study barriers to food label use : Foodessentials()

  • I have looked at the notice. It seems that the study is an internet study with ¨no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information¨.

    I have proposed therefore, that they open the internet survey up to the general public to participate. Below is a link to my proposal.

    It would be facinating to participate.

    Would you be interested in participating in the study?

  • Thanks for the alert! This will help the consumers study the product before they simply buy it.

  • Tory

    Hmmm. An internet survey of 43,000 people sounds like it will produce results that are generalizable to…no one, and that’s a shame. I know the FDA has the resources to pay for a population-based sample.