The Bill aims to enhance front-of-package food labeling requirements, mandate updates to the ingredients list on packaged foods, and implement consumer-friendly labeling requirements.
On April 26, 2023, House Energy and Commerce Committee Member Pallone (D-NJ) and Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2023 (FLMA). The main objective of this act is to update and improve food labeling practices in the United States.
The FLMA seeks to accomplish this by implementing several key provisions:
First, it aims to enhance front-of-package food labeling requirements, ensuring that consumers have clearer and more accurate information about the nutritional content and health claims of the products they purchase. This would help individuals make more informed choices regarding their dietary needs. All regulated packaged foods would be required to display standardized nutrition labels under the FLMA initiative. A system such as this would complement the existing Nutrition Facts panel and provide consumers with information about their food's sodium, added sugar, or saturated fat content.
In addition, the FLMA proposes modifying the ''standards of identity'' to permit the substitution of salt in all packaged foods. This amendment would empower the Food industry to participate in a nationwide endeavour to decrease sodium levels by replacing it in standardized food products.
The FLMA proposes updates to the ingredient list on packaged foods. The intention is to make ingredient information more comprehensive and transparent, enabling consumers to understand what goes into the products they consume with prominently marked allergens and clarified guidelines to prevent misleading claims. According to the information provided by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, various countries, including Canada, Ecuador, and Chile , have already adopted comparable guidelines.
The FLMA also incorporates measures to tackle potentially deceptive health claims, specifically those pertaining to the content of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The legislation would mandate transparent disclosure for specific ingredients that raise public health concerns, such as caffeine levels surpassing 10 mg per serving and grains containing gluten.
The proposed bill would enhance existing laws to tackle marketing practices that may confuse or deceive consumers when they try to compare different food products. Notably, the legislation will mandate the establishment of new guidelines regarding the usage of the term ''healthy.''
It is worth noting that a similar bill was introduced in the House in 2021, indicating an ongoing effort to address the need for updated food labeling regulations in the United States. Addressing the significant challenge of diet-related diseases in the country, will necessitate a comprehensive approach involving multiple government entities. The Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2023 aligns Congress with the White House and federal agencies in their efforts to enhance the health of the nation and consequently, advance the well being of the population.
The FLMA represents a continuation of these efforts and aims to revolutionize the way the food industry thinks about food labeling.
The complete text of the Bill can be found here.