The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aiming to publish a proposed rule to reform the Nutrition Facts panel and related rules by the end of this year, somewhat later than originally expected. A spokesman said: “FDA hopes to publish, by the end of the calendar year, a proposed rule, which if finalized, would revise the Nutrition Facts panel.”
Nearly 69 percent of U.S. adults and 32 percent of children are either overweight or obese, creating an annual medical cost burden that may reach $147 billion. Researchers and policy makers are eager to identify improved measures of environmental and policy factors that contribute to obesity prevention. The IOM formed the Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention to review the IOM's past obesity-related recommendations, identify a set of recommendations for future action, and recommend indicators of progress in implementing these actions. The committee held a workshop in March 2011 about how to improve measurement of progress in obesity prevention.
On October 20, 2011 the Institute of Medicine released its Phase II report on Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols. The Phase I report focused on evaluating current systems and nutritional criteria and resulted in a report in Fall 2010. In the second phase the committee was tasked to consider: the potential benefits of a single, standardized front-label food guidance system regulated by the FDA, assessment of which icons are most effective with consumer audiences, and development of conclusions about the systems and icons that best promote health and how to maximize their use. From the Committee’s review of the available evidence, they concluded that there are no flawless FOP symbol systems in the marketplace and that a single, standardized system that is easily understood by most age groups and appearing on all food products would be the best option to maximize its effectiveness in encouraging consumers to make healthier food choice and purchase decisions. The complete Phase II report can be found at: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13221