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FTC to FDA: Make Food Labels Clearer

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WASHINGTON, Dec 15, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission wants the Food and Drug Administration to help fight obesity by making food labels clearer.

Specifically, the FTC said Monday it would like to see four changes in food labeling to help consumers resist obesity:

-- Eliminate the requirement that a food must have 25 percent fewer calories than a reference food before a food marketer can claim on the label that it is "reduced calorie" or has "fewer" calories;

-- Remove the prohibition on claims on food labels comparing the calories in foods of different portion sizes;

-- Eliminate the ban on claims on the food label comparing calories of different product types; and

-- Decrease the burden of disclosures that have to accompany comparative claims on food labels.

The first proposal would make it easier for consumers to take advantage of a food product with fewer calories than another, even if it was not a full 25 percent lower, the FTC said.

The second proposal would raise the likelihood a label's information approximates what a given consumer eats or drinks; the third would help consumers because using different products are a common way of slimming down; and the fourth would free vendors to respond more quickly to evolving consumer questions.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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