What would you like to see on food labels?
Marion Nestle is a consumer activist, nutritionist, and academic who specializes in the politics of food and dietary choice. Nestle received her BA, PhD, and MPH from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1988, Nestle was appointed Chair of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. She held that position until 2004, when she became the Paulette Goddard Professor in the same department.
Nestle is the author of numerous books, including "Food Politics," which explored the way corporations influence our nutritional choices, and "What to Eat," an survey of how to navigate the modern American supermarket. Aside from her books and teaching, Nestle writes a popular blog for the Atlantic Food Channel.
Marion Nestle: The business about food labeling is interesting because the FDA has just put out a notice that it is going to review some of the health claims that are on food labels; and that it’s also going to review the structure of the food label in order to take off some of the things that are not so meaningful and put on some of the things that are more meaningful. The FDA proposed about five years ago to have the total number of calories in a package put on the front of the package, and they’ve never been able to get that through. There’s been so much food industry opposition to it that they’ve never been able to get that in. What that would do on a 20 ounce soda, for example, which has . . . which says on the back of it that it has 100 calories in . . . per serving, and there are two and a half servings in that . . . Instead of having 100 calories, it would have 250 or 275 or whatever it is. So that would be the first thing, would be to clarify the number of calories that are in the package, especially packages that are likely to be consumed by one person at one sitting, or even shared with friends. So the calorie issue is prominent because obesity is such a problem in our country right now. And then I think there need to be some issues about fats that are straightened out. So there are good fats and bad fats, and those should be very clearly identified as ones you wish there were more of and ones you wish there were less of. And I think on a label, added sugars. That would be a really good one, because right now you can’t tell how much sugar has been added, or how many different kinds of sugars, plural, have been added to food packages.
Nestle wants labels to accurately reflect the calorie content.
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