As per the Paperwork Reduction Act, federal agencies must release a notice in the Federal Register for each proposed information collection to allow the public to express their views. The original 30-day comment period opened on June 15, 2023.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reopened the comment period for the 30-day procedural notice to conduct a study entitled “Quantitative Research on Front of Package Labeling on Packaged Foods” because of technical challenges experienced with the comment submission portal. The new deadline for comments will be 11:59 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. Comments can be submitted here.
This study continues with focus groups conducted last year and aims to delve deeper into consumer responses to various front-of-package labeling schemes.
The consumer research undertaken by the FDA holds immense significance in light of the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health introduced during the White House Conference in September 2022. The strategy aims to combat hunger and reduce diet-related diseases. It includes the development of a front-of-package labeling scheme to complement the existing Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods.
Front-of-package labeling is envisioned to equip consumers, especially those with limited nutrition knowledge, with additional context to identify healthier food options more effortlessly. By implementing a standardized, science-based labeling system, consumers may be better equipped to establish a healthy eating pattern, thus aiding in the fight against chronic diseases linked to poor dietary choices.
Global experiences from countries that have already adopted front-of-package labeling provide encouraging evidence, suggesting that such labeling schemes can improve nutrition comprehension and enhance the ability to make informed and healthier choices.
“The U.S. continues to face an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases, many of which disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority groups, individuals with lower socioeconomic status, and those residing in rural areas,” according to the FDA’s press release. “To address this pressing concern, the FDA remains committed to prioritizing its nutrition activities and empowering consumers with valuable information to make informed and healthier food choices.”
The comment period offers an essential platform for the public to engage with the FDA’s proposed consumer research and contribute their perspectives.
As the FDA proceeds with its research and collects valuable input from the public, stakeholders eagerly anticipate the potential impact of a well-designed front-of-package labeling scheme in fostering healthier eating habits and reducing the burden of diet-related chronic diseases.
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