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STOP, SQUINT, AND SEARCH.

If you're like me--and millions of other Americans--you've had to stop, adjust your glasses, and squint to read the ingredient labels on some food packages. The type is often all capital letters, squished together, flush left and right, and in virtually the same color as the background (see Jul./Aug. 2001, p. 10).

For people with severe food allergies, a difficult-to-read ingredient list isn't just an inconvenience. It's a matter of life and death. It's tough enough to have to search every label for words like "peanuts," knowing that a mistake could mean a trip to the emergency room--or worse. When the ingredients are printed in barely distinguishable letters, shopping becomes a game of Russian roulette.

In contrast, it's a snap to read the fat, sodium, calorie, and other numbers on the "Nutrition Facts" labels. When the Food and Drug Administration overhauled those labels in the early 1990s, the agency asked the Greenfield-Belser design firm to create an easy-to-read format ... and issued rules requiring companies to follow it. Why not do the same for ingredient labels?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), publisher of Nutrition Action Healthletter, petitioned the FDA to do just that last July. The new Ingredient Facts label, created by Greenfield-Belser at our request, makes it far easier to scan and search for key ingredients, especially common allergens.

To help move the FDA along, please mail the coupon below ... or write, e-mail, or fax a letter in your own words.
Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest
COPYRIGHT 2001 Center for Science in the Public Interest
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:ingredient labels should be in bigger print
Author:Jacobson, Michael F.
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Words:260
Previous Article:READ MY LIPIDS.
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