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Friday, March 12, 2010

Jennifer Lamiraqui at the beach

Yesterday the FDA released new statistics showing that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they are buying—and putting into their mouths—by reading the nutrition labels required on all processed food products. The Health and Diet Survey showed that more than 50 percent of U.S. consumers are taking the time to look at the labels when purchasing a new product for the first time.

Current federal labeling requirements include serving size, calories, calories from fat, fat content, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate and protein amounts. Additionally, vitamins and mineral amounts—by percentage of daily value—are provided. There is a wealth of information to be gleaned from these labels, and they are especially helpful for anyone who has special dietary requirements, such as reduced sodium, gluten-free, low cholesterol, or low-fat.

According to the FDA press release, the survey also found differing degrees of trust about claims found on food labels. For example, 41 percent of consumers believe that all or most of claims such as “low fat,” “high fiber,” or “cholesterol free” are accurate, while 56 percent believe that some or none of them are accurate.

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