Navigating the Aisles: Clarity Coming to Food Labeling

A simple trip to the grocery store can become confusing when you get into the specifics of food labeling. Every day, consumers are bombarded with new labels on the shelves, increasing opportunities for miscommunication. This is especially true with new and upcoming products such as cell-based proteins. However, efforts are being made to address this issue and provide clarity for shoppers.

In partnership with the USDA and the FDA, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) recently introduced a resolution to prevent consumer confusion when cell-based proteins become available in stores. This resolution aims to establish clear labeling guidelines that promote transparency and help consumers make informed choices about the products they purchase.

But the changes continue. On Sept. 26, the FDA announced an updated draft guidance to assist food facilities in complying with current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) and preventive controls for human food. This update includes a new chapter dedicated to food allergens, outlining ways to protect against allergen cross-contact and ensuring accurate labeling. The goal is to improve food safety and allergen labeling practices, providing critical information for consumers, especially those with food allergies.

Additionally, pet owners will see significant improvements in pet food labeling. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recently approved new labeling regulations for pet food, including specialty treats and supplements. After nearly eight years of industry collaboration, these changes will bring pet food labeling closer to human food products. The updated labels will provide standardized nutrition information, clear ingredient statements, and storage and handling instructions, offering pet owners the transparency they need to make informed choices.

A 2015 CAST paper, “Process Labeling of Food: Consumer Behavior, the Agricultural Sector, and Policy Recommendations,” analyzes how labeling affects consumer choices, technology adoption, and research and product development spending. Legislators, regulatory officials, and consumers can benefit from this Issue Paper’s thoughtful and science-based information.

Graphic Designer Behind Iconic Nutrition Labels Passes Away

Burkey Belser, the graphic designer known for creating the iconic nutrition labels found on packaged food, died at 76 in Bethesda, Maryland, reportedly from bladder cancer Sept. 25. Belser’s legacy lives on through the clarity he brought to food labeling, enabling consumers to make informed choices about the products they purchase.

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