Food Labeling Modernization Act introduced in House, Senate
A Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 that would update front-of-package food labeling requirements, require updates to the ingredient list on packaged foods, and apply consumer friendly labeling requirements has been introduced in the House and the Senate.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the bill in their respective chambers.
“American consumers have a right to know what’s in the food they and their families eat, but that isn’t always easy with today’s opaque food labels and marketing claims,” Pallone said.
“The Food Labeling Modernization Act will update our nation’s packaging requirements to provide clear nutritional information to consumers to help them make healthier and more informed purchasing decisions.”
“This bill will bring much-needed clarity to food labels so Americans can make informed, healthy decisions for themselves and their families,” Blumenthal said.
“Current labels are a confusing maze and fail to provide important, useful information to consumers. The Food Labeling Modernization Act will ensure serving sizes are updated, allergens are clearly labeled, and nutritional information is transparent, giving people the tools they need to make healthier choices and avoid misleading, deceptive pitches and promotions.”
In a joint news release, the sponsors of the bill said the majority of the food labeling provisions of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act have not been updated since 1990 and in some cases have not been changed since 1938.
The Food Labeling Modernization Act’s signature initiative would direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a single, standard front-of-package nutrition labeling system in a timely manner for all food products required to bear nutrition labeling, they added.
The legislation would also require new guidelines for the use of the word “healthy.”
The Food Labeling Modernization Act is supported by Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Reports, Environmental Working Group, Gluten Free Watchdog, National Celiac Association, Celiac Disease Foundation, Beyond Celiac, and Gluten Intolerance Group.
“The past year has laid bare how our nation’s ill health can make us more vulnerable to new threats, like the coronavirus,” said Peter Lurie, executive director and president, Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“Many of the same conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19 can result, in part, from poor quality diets. It’s time for the United States to take bold action to reduce the prevalence of diet-related diseases by passing the Food Labeling Modernization Act.”
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