The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new strategic plan for food and nutrition over the next four years, including new initiatives related to food labeling and collaboration with industry on public health goals.
The Foods and Veterinary Medicine (FVM) Program outlines seven goals and more than 100 specific initiatives that the agency intends to focus on up to 2016, covering food safety, nutrition, and animal health.
In particular, the plan includes updating the Nutrition Facts panel, potentially making calorie information more prominent, as part of its goal to “provide accurate and useful information so consumers can choose a healthier diet and reduce the risk of chronic disease and obesity.”
“The manner in which serving size information, daily values and key nutrients are communicated will also be updated,” the document said.
The agency said that a key initiative with the 2012-16 goals is to publish proposed and then final rules updating the Nutrition Facts label and serving sizes.
The plan also includes a commitment to publish a final rule on the use of the term ‘gluten-free’ on product labels, a move that has been a long time coming , as the FDA first proposed a threshold for gluten in gluten-free products back in 2007.
Initiatives related to improving consumer access to and use of nutrition information include exploring front‐of‐pack nutrition labeling and collaborating with the public/private sector on nutrition education, the report said.
The agency also outlined its plan to encourage reformulation of foods to lower sodium and industrially produced trans fat content in the food supply.
Other areas of interest for the food industry include a pledge to work with industry to implement modern food tracing systems, and other initiatives in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act, regarding facility inspections, prevention of contamination, and improved information sharing.
The full strategic plan is available online here .