On Oct. 20, 2011, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board presented results and recommendations from the Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Ratings Systems and Symbols (Phase II). In their report the committee noted there is sufficient evidence to recommend that the FDA and USDA consider a fundamental shift in strategy and encourage healthier choices and purchase behaviors for front-of-pack labeling of food products. The IOM acknowledged the importance of a simple, user friendly approach and recommended a zero to three nutritional “points” rating system that accounts for added sugar, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat amounts per serving.
The IOM’s recommendations bear a remarkable similarity to key features of Guiding Stars—namely the simple, user friendly rating system of zero to three stars and the “debiting” of food products for less desirable nutrients such as added sugar, sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. However, very importantly, Guiding Stars also “rewards” healthier foods by giving credit for desirable nutrients such as whole grain, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The direction recommended by the IOM is strongly validating of the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program, which has been in the marketplace now for five years.
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