Nutrition Labels to Move to Front of Packaging Under Biden Plan - The Jewish Voice
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Nutrition Labels to Move to Front of Packaging Under Biden Plan

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FDA will research and propose standardized nutritional labeling system, which could include star ratings or traffic light images

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The White House on Tuesday released a national plan to end hunger by 2030, an ambitious goal that would be accomplished largely by expanding monthly food benefits for poor Americans.

The plan would also aim to encourage healthy eating and physical activity so fewer people would be diagnosed with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other diet-related diseases. Part of that strategy would include expanding Medicaid and Medicare access to obesity and nutrition counseling.

“The consequences of food insecurity and diet-related diseases are significant, far-reaching, and disproportionately impact historically underserved communities,” Biden said in a statement outlining the new strategy. “Yet, food insecurity and diet-related diseases are largely preventable, if we prioritize the health of the nation.”

The announcement came as Biden hosts a conference this week on hunger, nutrition, and health, the first held by the White House since 1969, the Associated Press reported. That conference, under President Richard Nixon, prompted a greatly expanded food stamps program and gave rise to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides women with parenting advice, breastfeeding support, and food assistance.

Still, cuts to federal programs and significant changes in how food and farming systems are run have prompted declines in access to food, the AP reported. Ten percent of U.S. households suffered food insecurity in 2021.

For the national plan to succeed, Biden needs the backing of both Congress and the business community. This week’s conference will highlight the need for access to better, healthier food and exercise. “We have learned so much more about nutrition and the role that healthy eating plays in how our kids perform in the classroom, and about nutrition and its linkages to disease prevention,” Biden said.

To help consumers ascertain the nutritional value of foods more easily, the Biden administration said Tuesday it will propose putting nutrition labels on the front of packaging instead of on the back. The proposal will be paired with an update on criteria for what foods can be called “healthy.”

Both are part of an effort “to shift our health care system away from just treating disease to preventing it,” a senior administration official told reporters on a call, NBC News reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will research and propose a standardized nutritional labeling system, which could include star ratings or traffic light images. A strategy report explaining the plan said it would “help consumers, particularly those with lower nutrition literacy, quickly and easily identify foods that are part of a healthy eating pattern.”

The news came just before Wednesday’s scheduled White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the first such conference in 50 years, NBC News reported. Food labeling and related proposals could help reach Biden’s aim to end hunger, while increasing healthy eating and physical activity and reducing the effect of diet-related diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in the United States by 2030.

The administration is also working to improve food access and affordability, largely by increasing benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Each person who receives those benefits will get about $26 more per month. About 9 million more children will also have access to healthy, free school lunches by 2032 as part of the effort, and more children will receive summer benefits and SNAP eligibility, NBC News reported.

(AP & NBC News)

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