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November 3, 1989

Changes Brewing for Food Labels as National Concern About Diet and Health Continues to Grow

JAMA. 1989;262(17):2354-2355. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430170012003

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AMID the diet-disease debate, while scientists seek to answer the public's and medical profession's nutrition questions, changes are taking form in food labeling.

What that form will be remains to be determined. At present, the labels of all foods are required to list all ingredients in order of descending weight.

Moreover, approximately 60% of all foods bear labels that list the number of calories and percentages of protein, carbohydrate, fat, sodium, and the US daily requirement of vitamins, although only those foods with added nutrients and those for which the manufacturers have made nutrition claims are required to do so.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, DC, consumer organization, suggests that an "improved" label would indicate the serving size (probably in ounces), the number of servings per container, the total number of calories, and (in grams or milligrams) the total level of fat, cholesterol-raising fat, cholesterol,