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FDA Mulling Food/Beverage Label Changes

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WASHINGTON, Nov 20, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, seeking to address obesity, is mulling a change in food labels so nutrition information covers the entire package.

The FDA's current regulations only require nutrition to be described for sometimes-misleading "serving sizes."

Such a change would answer concerns that portions sold to consumers have grown while the government's measurements of a typical serving haven't kept up. Some nutritionists argue the gap has left people confused about just how many calories they are eating.

At issue most are single-serve packages, which have mushroomed in size over the past decade or so, yet are designed to be consumed in a single sitting. For instance, the once-typical 12-ounce can of soda has been substituted in many venues over the years with a 20-ounce bottle. In the case of a Coke, that bottle contains 2.5 servings, at 100 calories each -- a total of 250 calories.

"Labels have not kept up with the supersizing of food," said Peter J. Pitts, the FDA's associate commissioner for external relations. "We want to make sure consumers don't need a calculator to make wise nutritional choices."

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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