Friday, November 16, 2018
 Grocery Manufacturers Association and Food Marketing Institute Launch New Nutrition Labeling System  

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced the launch of its Nutrition Keys Initiative, a voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system.  The Nutrition Keys Initiative comes in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” Campaign, in which the goal of empowering consumers to make healthy dietary choices has been promoted through the suggested adoption of consumer-friendly front-of-package labeling. In addition, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announced in 2009 that front-of-pack labeling was a “top priority” for the Agency.

Under the Initiative, food and beverage manufacturers may place a set of four icons on the front of packaging representing four “key nutrients” for which current FDA guidelines recommend limiting dietary consumption.  The four “key nutrients” include: (1) calories; (2) saturated fat; (3) sodium; and (4) sugars.  Each key nutrient is expressed on a per-serving basis, and daily value percentages are included where FDA has set recommended daily intake limits:


For smaller food packages in which there is insufficient space to provide for the four key nutrient icons, the labeling scheme permits a single-icon, calorie-only disclosure:


Finally, the labeling scheme provides food and beverage manufacturers with the option of disclosing up to two additional “nutrients to encourage” from a group of eight, alongside the set of four key nutrients referenced above.  In order to qualify for listing, however, such “nutrients to encourage” must meet at least 10% of the recommended daily value per serving, and must further satisfy the requirements of FDA’s “good source” content claims. These “nutrients to encourage” include: (1) vitamin A; (2) vitamin C; (3) vitamin D; (4) calcium; (5) fiber; (6) iron; (7) potassium; and (8) protein:


FDA responded to the announcement Monday by “commend[ing] the industry” for implementing the voluntary system, while at the same time expressing reservation about the “nutrients to encourage” component, suggesting that consumers may infer that a product that contains little nutritional value might otherwise be perceived as healthy.  In the meantime, FDA continues to review front-of-package labeling pending the release of the second phase of a study currently being conducted by the Institute of Medicine, expected this coming fall.

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2011 (Archive on Thursday, February 03, 2011)
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