The United States spends billions every year in health care costs, but three senators, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, believe that improving nutritional labels on food products could help the country control its medical expenses.
"The cluttered, confusing labels on food packaging today contribute to obesity," Senator Blumenthal told The New Haven Register. "One-third of all American children are obese. That is an epidemic that needs to be stopped."
Blumenthal's initiative is supported by Marlene Schwartz, director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week to strengthen its label regulations during a press conference.
Earlier this year, the FDA proposed updating serving size requirements, redesigning labels to make calories and serving sizes more prominent and requiring information about "added sugars," according to the agency's website. However, these changes are not enough to satisfy critics.
Some of Senator Blumenthal's proposed changes include redesigning the label by grouping sugar products together and disclosing the amount of caffeine, artificial colors and sweeteners on the front of packages. He also asked the FDA to set definitions for the terms "whole wheat," "natural," "sweeteners" and "healthy," according to the New Hampshire Register.
Blumenthal admits that its up to Americans to make their own dietary choices, but that they should also be provided with the appropriate information to make informed decisions.
As changes to labeling requirements change, manufacturers need to be able to react quickly in order to remain competitive and reduce waste. Investing in in-house label printing solutions not only severs dependence on a third party, but reduces cost and allows producers greater flexibility in their product packaging.