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FDA and Consumers Focused on Improving Food Labels

Too Many Numbers on Food Labels

Food labels offer consumers a plethora of information to read and analyze - but do buyers really understand what they are eating? According to Dr. Nancy Smith from Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, food labels have too much information on them, preventing consumers from properly understanding nutritional content, she told Tallahassee.com. There are too many numbers on labels, including percentages, serving sizes and grams​, among other tiny printed information that can be daunting for consumers to read when trying to understand the nutritional value of what they are eating.

Label Readers and Calorie Counters Beware
Consumers read food labels for all different reasons, Smith went on to tell Tallahassee.com, but the amount of information can be overwhelming, especially if a consumer is concerned about diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, or other dietary and health concerns, she added. 

To help consumers better understand the nutritional values displayed on food labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition conducted an online survey of 9,000 participants to measure consumer accuracy when reading labels, Food Business News reported. The researchers provided different types of label formats and concluded that readers could more accurately asses calorie, fat and other nutrients per serving with either a label for the total package or a dual-column format. The FDA will continue to investigate how to make food labels more reader-friendly and may eventually change labels on food packaging to reflect the survey results.