Shoppers may be confused by the proliferation of symbols and nutrition rating systems on food packaging in recent years intended to help consumers make healthy choices. Moreover, questions have been raised about the nutritional criteria underlying different systems. Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Phase II Report recommends criteria and a process that federal agencies could use to develop a single front-of-package system and icons that would help consumers compare foods and beverages and instantly recognize healthier options.
The report will be released Thursday, Oct. 20, at a one-hour public briefing starting at 11 a.m. EDT in Room 100 of the National Academies' Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Those who cannot attend may participate through a live audio webcast accessible at http://www.nationalacademies.org. Participating from the committee that wrote the report are:
-- Ellen A. Wartella (chair), Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor of Communication, professor of psychology, and director, Center on Media and Human Development, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
-- Alice H. Lichtenstein (vice chair), Stanley N. Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston
-- Matthew Kreuter, professor, School of Social Work and School of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis
-- Frances H. Seligson, consultant, Hershey, Pa.
-- Mary T. Story, professor, division of epidemiology and community health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Advance copies will be available to reporters only beginning noon EDT Wednesday, Oct. 19. THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 11 A.M. EDT THURSDAY, OCT. 20. Reporters can obtain a copy and arrange interviews with members of the authoring committee by contacting the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail email@example.com. More information on the study is available at http://www.iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/NutritionSymbols.aspx.