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Upfront on nutrition facts.

A NEW FRONT-OF-PACK NUTRITION LABELING PROGRAM HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO HELP SHOPPERS MAKE MORE NUTRITIOUS FOOD AND BEVERAGES CHOICES. Developed under the leadership of the Keystone Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in creating consensus solutions to a public health council, the Smart Choices Program is infended to bring "clarity and consistency to the marketplace that's currently cluttered by multiple systems."

The Smart Choices Program includes a symbol that identifies more nutritious choices within specific product categories and provides calorie information that identifies calories per serving and servings per container on front-of-pack. A number of companies, including Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Unilever and Wal-Mart have stated they are likely to implement the new on-pack nutritional guidance system.

"This effort has been extraordinary on two levels," says coalition participant Eileen T. Kennedy, DSc, RD, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "First, it's been a tremendous accomplishment to achieve consensus among a diverse group of influential stakeholders. Second, we've created a program that shows real promise in assisting people in making positive dietary changes to help enhance public health."

To qualify for the symbol, products cannot exceed standards for specific nutrients to limit, such as total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. For most categories the offerings must also provide positive attributes or nutrients to encourage, such as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, C, and E, as well as food groups to encourage, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low fat or fat-free dairy. The Smart Choices Program symbol and calorie information will begin appearing on packages in mid-2009.

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Title Annotation:HEALTHY BITES
Author:Palazzo, Suzanne Vita
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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