8:25 AM, Feb 27, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama wants to make changes to the Nutrition Facts label. It is all "part of an effort to help families make healthier choices," according to the White House.
"Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg at the White House to announce proposed revisions to the Nutrition Facts label, which has been significantly updated only once since its initial release twenty years ago. The Nutrition Facts label is found on roughly 700,000 products. The updates announced today support the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative in its ongoing efforts to provide parents and families with access to information that helps them make healthier choices," reads a White House press release.
“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”
The proposed updates are intended to reflect the latest scientific information about the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The proposed label would also replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with the amount consumers actually eat, and it would feature a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.
“For 20 years consumers have come to rely on the iconic nutrition label to help them make healthier food choices,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “To remain relevant, the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”
Some of the FDA’s proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label are:
· Require information about the amount of “added sugars” in a food product. Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans determination that calorie intake from added sugar is too high in the U.S. population and should be reduced. The FDA proposes to include “added sugars” on the label to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product.
· Update serving size requirements to reflect the amounts people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were first put into place in 1994. By law, serving sizes must be based on the portion consumers actually eat, rather than the amount they “should” be eating.
· Present calorie and nutrition information for the whole package of certain food products that could be consumed in one sitting or in multiple sittings.
· Refresh the format to emphasize certain elements, such as calories, serving sizes and Percent Daily Value, which are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease.
8:29 AM, Jan 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Food and Drug Administration is seeking a small business to potentially supply the federal agency with a chewing gum tester. Despite the frivolous sounding nature of the announcement, the search is a serious one, and apparently a growing need.
Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
It’s difficult to think of a company doing anything as gee-whiz neat as 23andMe. The Mountain View, Calif., firm, which opened its doors to the public in 2007, provides comprehensive genetic tests to anybody with $99 to spend. Customers send in a saliva sample and about six weeks later get access to a detailed website explaining their unique genetic code along with an opportunity to connect with (usually distant) relatives who have also done business with 23andMe.
The irrational hostility to e-cigarettes.Aug 5, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 44 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Smokeless, odorless, and, indeed, tobacco-less, electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” in common parlance, are projected to become a $1 billion industry this year. Yes, that’s “electronic” cigarettes: battery-powered gadgets that convert liquid nicotine into vapor, which the user inhales. The act is known—unfortunately, if accurately—as “vaping.” (It’s important to note that one doesn’t smoke an e-cigarette.) Some e-cigs are made to closely resemble actual cigarettes—they have the same shape and color and even an LED light at the end, designed to simulate a lit butt.
2:35 PM, Jun 20, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations is soliciting bids for "Data Mining and Targeting Software" to help in its efforts to combat illegal trafficking in cigarettes and other tobacco products.
9:56 AM, Apr 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The federal government will now allow companies that sell "nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products," such as Nicorette, not to put warning labels on their merchandise, the Food and Drug Administration announced. The change, the FDA now admits, is because the warnings, which were mandated for the last 30 years, were misguided from the very beginning.
12:55 PM, Dec 13, 2012 • By ALEXANDER KAZAM
The FDA is raising hackles over the equivalent of an espresso shot in a bottle: the popular 5-Hour Energy drink that has billions of dollars in sales over the past decade.
1:19 PM, Jul 3, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, the first over-the-counter, self-administered HIV test kit to detect the presence of antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2). HIV is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)," a press release from the FDA states.
The Obama administration targets food marketed to children.Aug 8, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 44 • By KATE HAVARD
The Obama administration is after your Lucky Charms, or at least your children’s. The public comment period closed on July 14 for a set of “voluntary” guidelines for the marketing of food to children. If adopted, these rules will transform the advertising of breakfast cereals.
A recipe for indifference.12:50 PM, Apr 6, 2011 • By DAVID GRATZER
What if you passed a regulation, and nobody cared? Obesity is quickly emerging as a major policy issue, with related health costs consuming 10 cents on every health dollar – and rising. Policymakers, then, are eager for ideas. Top of the list: regulations to force chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus.
1:10 PM, Nov 29, 2010 • By JIM PREVOR
Today, the Senate is likely to vote on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (S510). But the bill is little more than an enormous grant of money and power to the Food and Drug Administration and a lot of reporting burdens imposed on the private sector. Those who favor a smaller, leaner government should oppose it.
4:00 PM, May 7, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and host of the Travel Channel's very popular "No Reservations" does not mince words about the possibility future overbearing salt regulation.
In this otherwise depressing Time piece that, among other creepy sentiments, asserts that "we can be trained" to get by with less sodium and calls salt a dietary "cocaine," Bourdain's delightfully politically incorrect sentiment is, well, the salt and the light.
Taking the decision with a grain of salt. 11:40 AM, Apr 23, 2010 • By STANLEY GOLDFARB
The FDA, acting on a recommendation to be made by a task force of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, is about to take the unprecedented step of regulating the salt content of processed foods. There actually is a scientific rationale for this. Numerous studies have shown that high sodium chloride (salt) intake is associated with an increased likelihood of hypertension leading to strokes, heart attacks, and congestive heart failure. Of course tobacco isn’t good for you either, but the FDA, which now regulates cigarettes, isn’t talking about reducing the nicotine levels in every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States. The question is, why salt? How dangerous is it?
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