The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group with offices in the United States and Canada, is petitioning the US's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for national standards identifying healthy food choices. Currently, food product labels in both the US and Canada may carry prominent symbols identifying them as "healthy choices". However, this labelling and the criteria behind them are driven by the food manufacturers, not by a standard government-recognized set of criteria.
Such symbols include Kraft's Sensible Solutions, PepsiCo's Smart Spot and Compliments Balance. While Compliments Balance was designed to meet criteria set by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s (HSF) Health Check Program, most healthy choice symbol requirements are simply set by the product manufacturer. Without standard guidelines, such symbols may be actually more confusing for consumers than helpful.
With CPSI encouraging the American food regulators to standardize a quick and easy-to-identify logo for healthier food choices, we hope that such systems may also be introduced in Canada. In the UK, a traffic light system has been introduced, and it looks promising as a standarized method for identifying healthy choices.
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