F.D.A. to study front-of-package symbols

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to conduct a study designed to assess consumer reaction to front-of-package nutrition symbols, according to the June 1 Federal Register. The proposed experimental study will use an Internet-based survey to collect information from adults. The study plans to randomly assign each of 2,400 participants to view a label from a set of food labels.

The study plans to make the mandatory Nutrition Facts Panel available to all participants. The study will focus on the following types of consumer reaction:

● judgments about a product’s nutritional attributes, health and other characteristics such as taste;

● judgments about a label’s credibility in conveying the product’s nutritional attributes;

● identification of a more nutritious product in a pair of products;

● impact of the symbol on the use of the Nutrition Facts Panel.

In addition, the study will involve face-to-face eye-tracking examination of 30 adults to explore their label viewing patterns.

The results of the study will be used to develop population estimates. The F.D.A. will receive public comment on the proposed study until July 31.

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