Entries in Nutrition Labels (5)


Nutrition Labels on Raw Beef, Poultry Begin Thursday

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The nutrition fact labels that you see on almost everything from soup to cookies are now being placed on meat. The new Agriculture Department rules go into effect Thursday, requiring labels on 40 of the most popular cuts of beef and poultry, listing things such as calories, fat and cholesterol.

Tufts University nutrition professor Dr. Alice Lichtenstein says the change is a long time coming. “There were technical difficulties because of the way meat is displayed in packages in the supermarket,” she said.

It's a change that Lichtenstein says will enable shoppers to make informed choices about what they are eating, and “really facilitate cross comparisons and a better understanding of exactly what the information means.”

“I think it's going to allow the consumer at the point of purchase to actually compare the different cuts of meat and make decisions on the basis of, for example, how many calories there are per serving,” she continued.

And that, Lichtenstein says, is a step in the right direction: “Most of the products in supermarkets are labeled. However, there are some major exceptions, one of which is meat -- and this is a good approach to closing the gap.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: People Prefer Foods Labeled 'Organic'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As consumers, we like to feel good about the food that we purchase, and that’s why we’ll very often gravitate toward products labeled “organic,” even if we have to pay more for them.

A new study by researchers at Cornell University suggests that people perceive foods with an “organic” label as being lower in fat, higher in fiber, and more nutritious overall than their “non-organic” counterparts.

Nearly 150 participants were asked to compare identical foods that were labeled as either “regular” or “organic.” They were instructed to rate the food for different attributes, such as taste and perception of fat.

Preliminary data showed that those surveyed preferred organically-labeled foods for almost all taste characteristics, and also perceived them to be lower in calories. Additionally, participants said they would be willing to pay more for the “organic” foods than the “regular” items.

Low fat nutrition labels and some fast food restaurants that claim to be healthy have in past studies been shown to mislead customers into underestimating a product’s true calorie count, prompting people to overeat and feel less guilty as they do so.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New 'Nutrition Keys' Coming to Front of Food Packages

Photo Courtesy - Grocery Manufacturers Association/Food Marketing Institute (PHOENIX) -- The leading food manufacturers and retailers in America introduced a new labeling system Monday that will call for the placement of nutrition facts on the front of food items to help consumers make informed decisions when they shop for groceries.

Called Nutrition Keys, the new labels will feature information on calories, saturated fat, sodium and total sugars content on the front of food and beverage products.  The nutrition facts will be easy to read and to the point, and will also feature daily value percentages as recommended by the U.S. government. 

Smaller products, like beverages, may only feature caloric content, while larger items could add “nutrients to encourage” -- potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron -- in addition to the four basic icons.

The program is a joint venture between the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute, and was created after first lady Michelle Obama requested it in March of 2010.

Food and beverage companies will begin to adopt the Nutrition Keys icon this year, with the first products to feature them hitting store shelves in a few months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researcher: Trans Fat Info on Labels Deceptive

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Nutrition labels can be confusing. Experts say their information is often difficult to interpret and that ingredient amounts are meaningless if not put in the proper context. According to one researcher, nutrition labels are not only confusing but deceptive, particularly when it comes to trans fats, the unsaturated fats often found in junk food.

Eric Brandt, now a student at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, did some investigating while still an undergraduate and found that even when labels indicated no trans fats, foods often contained them. He published a paper in the current issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion, calling for changes in the way trans fats are listed on labels.

Experts agree that trans fats are a health hazard, but believe there might be better ways to indicate their presence, and that changing regulations could have adverse effects on consumers.

"I looked more closely at the list of ingredients and found that a lot of foods that say they have no trans fats actually contain partially hydrogenated oils, which do have trans fat in them," said Brandt.

He said the discrepancy occurs because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require manufacturers to list trans fats if they are present in amounts less than .5 grams. Omitting that information, however, could pose a danger to consumers.

"Research has consistently shown that if you add up small amounts less than .5 grams over time, it can become a significant amount and can be harmful to health," said Brandt.

Current dietary guidelines recommend consuming no more than 1.11 grams of trans fats per day. Trans fats also tend to raise levels of "bad" cholesterol and lower the levels of "good" cholesterol.

Because of the FDA's current requirements, if a food contains .49 grams of trans fat, the manufacturer is permitted to list the amount of trans fat as zero.

To more accurately reflect the amount of trans fat in food, Brandt believes it should be listed in increments of one-tenth of a gram. If, for example, there are .35 grams of trans fat in a food, the label should read .4 grams. If there are .34 grams of trans fat, the label should read .3 grams.

The FDA has required trans fat information on food labels since 2006. A spokesperson for the agency said since it hasn't yet seen Brandt's paper, it is too early to comment on it. However, the spokesperson also said it's difficult to confirm amounts less than .5 grams, which is why that became the rule.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Coming Soon: Nutrition Labels on Cuts of Meat

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Nutrition labels, like those found on the backs of cereal boxes and canned goods, will soon be required on cuts of meat.

As reported by USA Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to announce the new requirements on Wednesday.  The new labels, which are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will list calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein and vitamins for the slabs of beef, poultry, pork and lamb that are most commonly consumed.

By implementing the labels, federal officials hope Americans will become more health conscious and selective when choosing to buy meats.´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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