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Michelle Obama Wins Battle Over Nutritional Labeling

On Friday, First lady Michelle Obama shared the country's first update to nutrition labels in over two decades. The labels will take effect in to years, and requires food companies to list how much sugar they add to their products, as well as suggest a limit for how much added sugar people should eat. Labels on products from candy bars to cereal must be changed at an estimated cost of $2 billion.

Speaking at a health summit in Washington, Obama said "Very soon, very soon you will no longer need a microscope, a calculator or a degree in nutrition to figure out whether the food you're buying is actually good for our kids. That's a phenomenal achievement."

Marion Nestle, an influential food policy advocate, said of the new nutrition labels, “This is an enormous accomplishment. This is really hard to do.”

Food companies worth less than $10 million have three years to comply. Significant pushbacks are expected. The Nutrition Facts label has not been changed since it first appeared on food packages in 1994. The Sugar Association, which represents the vast majority of sugar producers, has argued the FDA has no scientific justification for mandating added sugars labeling. They also said this creates “an alarming precedent for this and future product labeling regulations.”

Bruce Silverglade, a principal at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz, who has worked for the sugar industry said, "We have seen this before — the demonizing of a specific ingredient like fat or cholesterol has not worked in the past. It's unfortunate that FDA is following the same old failed approach with its efforts to demonize sugars.”

Mars and Nestlé support the mandatory labeling. Brad Figel, vice president of public affairs at Mars stated, “We really applaud this. We think this is a major step forward in giving consumers more transparency.”

Photo: Extra T.V.

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