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GMA Touts Voluntary Food Labeling System

<p>More than 50 companies have voluntarily implemented the labels on their branded and private labels, Grocery Manufacturers Association President Pamela Bailey said.</p>

WASHINGTON—Just days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed sweeping changes to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged food, the food industry is touting a voluntary labeling system through a national advertising campaign.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are seeking to increase awareness of Facts Up Front, a labeling initiative displaying calories per serving and information on saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Food manufacturers also may include information on one or two nutrients to encourage, including potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron, according to a joint news release from GMA and FMI.

More than 50 companies have voluntarily implemented the labels on their branded and private labels, GMA President and CEO Pamela Bailey said.

"Our research tells us that more than two-thirds of shoppers read food labels, looking for information related to sodium content, sugar, fat and calories," FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. "Food retailers listen to their customers and the Facts Up Front Program gives these shoppers the information they're looking for in a convenient, easily accessible format."

The advertising campaign was announced just days after the FDA unveiled a proposal to change the two-decade-old Nutrition Facts label. Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, said the proposal is estimated to cost the industry $2 billion.


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