The White House Plans To Give Nutrition Labels A Makeover. Here's What They Could Look Like

President Joe Biden announced a plan on September 27 to make it easier to identify healthy foods through a new labeling process. According to the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the Biden administration proposed using either a star system or a traffic light scheme to help people understand what foods are considered healthy according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These new labels would be placed on the front of food packages.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also create criteria for what's considered "healthy" for companies that label their foods as such. The FDA will develop guidelines for the food industry's labeling so that people understand which food or food groups contribute to their overall health. Because people can shop for groceries online, this strategy will make nutrition information more easily accessible while online shopping.

This national strategy is based on a report from the Task Force on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which addresses food insecurity, physical activity, and other nutrition efforts.

Keeping consumers informed through food labels

The efforts to put nutrition information on the front of food labels aren't new. In August 2021, the U.S. Senate proposed the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021. This bill suggested putting labels on the front of packages that would warn people of foods high in sugar, sodium, or saturated fat.

Some grocery store chains label their generic brands according to their nutritional value. For example, Giant Food's Guiding Stars program gives a rating of one star to food that has good nutritional value. Food that has better nutritional value gets two stars, and three stars go to foods with the best health value.

The Facts Up Front label gives people the number of calories in each serving plus the amount of saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. These voluntary labels on the front of packages were created by the food industry. The American Heart Association approves certain foods that meet its standard for what's heart-healthy.

According to Stat News, these labels are only somewhat influential on people's food choices. Labels can help people reduce the number of calories and the amount of fat they consume, as well as eliminate unhealthy options. However, they don't do much to increase healthy food options.