The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it plans to put an end to food labeling it believes makes consumers think foods have more nutritional value than they do.
The agency will target the front panels of packages bearing logos or language suggesting that the product is healthier than the actual ingredients indicate, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"There's a growing proliferation" of symbols that suggest healthfulness and "some nutritionists have questioned whether this information is more marketing-oriented than health-oriented. Judging from some of the labels we've seen, this is a valid concern," Hamburg said.
The front of packages often catch consumers' eyes, while shoppers are less likely to read the nutritional information boxes on the side or back of packages, Hamburg explained.
While not naming specific products, she said some that are labeled with the "check mark" logo under the industry-supported "Smart Choices" food rating program "are almost 50 percent sugar."
Smart Choices has emerged as a lightning rod among some nutritionists, who say its ratings are too lax, the Tribune reported. The program is under investigation by the Connecticut attorney general for its labeling practices.
Mike Hughes, chairman of the Smart Choices program, said it's unfair to focus on one ingredient in a single product. "I think you should look at the whole product and what it delivers," he said.