December 28, 2009

Better food labels on the way

Want to improve yourself and your planet in 2010? Seeking to reduce your energy costs and eat healthier this year? Those are lofty goals—especially when food labels are not yet fool-proof. Fruit Loops a “Smart Choice”—with 41 percent sugar? Most nutritionists think not, and the Food and Drug Administration is weighing in. To simplify the system and deal with the nation’s obesity epidemic, the agency is trying to develop nutritional criteria that manufacturers must meet before slapping labels on boxes. We may get one simple front-label on our foods.

One possibility — The FDA is considering the food label used successfully in Australia and the UK. It’s a traffic light system with nutrition info that goes beyond calories. Little red dots on food items will be the “red lights” that alert consumers about high sugar and salt. The best foods, as locavores already know, are usually fresh veggies at our farmers’ markets.