The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a notice last week seeking public comment and consumer research data in support of the agency’s initiative to improve the usefulness of nutrition information provided to consumers at the point-of-purchase, including through front-of-package (“FOP”) labeling and shelf tags in retail stores (“FOP initiative”). FDA’s request for information comes while a related study by the Institutes of Medicine (“IOM”) remains pending. The IOM Committee on Examination of Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols currently is evaluating scientific evidence concerning the nutrition information and ranking systems that currently are used by food manufacturers and retailers for FOP labeling, shelf tags, and other food marketing purposes.

The FDA notice specifically requests research data and other information addressing the following matters:

  • Data and information on the extent to which consumers notice, use, and understand nutrition symbols on front-of-pack labeling of food packages or on shelf tags in retail stores;
  • Research assessing and comparing the effectiveness of particular possible approaches to front-of-pack labeling;
  • Graphic design, marketing, and advertising data and information that can inform and guide the development of better point-of-purchase nutrition information; and
  • The extent to which point-of-purchase nutrition information may affect decisions by food manufacturers to reformulate products.

Click here to see the specific elements of each of these categories of interest to FDA.

FDA will consider public comment submitted in response to its notice until July 28, 2010.

For more detail, please reference the Kelley Drye client advisory.