Specifically, the agency would like to learn more about the extent to which consumers notice, use and understand nutrition symbols on front-of-pack labeling of food packages or on shelf tags in retail stores; research that assesses and compares the effectiveness of particular approaches to front-of-pack labeling; graphic design, marketing and advertising data and information that can help develop better point-of-purchase nutrition information; and how point-of-purchase information may affect decisions by food manufacturers to reformulate products.
The F.D.A. raised the issue in January 2008 and said at that time it would be developing a regulation addressing front-of-package nutrition labels to ensure consumers are not confused or misled by front-of-package symbols. Specifically, the agency said it would propose a regulation to define the nutritional criteria that would have to be met by food companies making front-of-package claims about a product’s nutritional quality.
The F.D.A. is accepting comments until July 28, 2010. Comments may be sent to http://www.regulations.gov, by entering Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0210. Written comments also may be sent to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305) Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville Md., 20852.
The full Federal Register Notice may be viewed by visiting: http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-09939_PI.pdf.