Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell and the attorneys general of 11 other states last week urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt a uniform nutritional label for the front of food packages, to ensure that consumers have access to easily understandable and fully transparent information on how healthy the products actually are.
"Consumers should have clear information to make healthy food choices," said Sorrell.
The position of the attorneys general was set out in comments filed with the FDA in connection with that agency's proposal to establish a national front-of-package food labeling program. They are consistent with preliminary recommendations from Sorrell's personal focus on obesity in Vermont. Some have criticized Sorrell for using his A.G. authority to advocate a concern that's unrelated to the primary mission of the state's office.
The comments follow a multistate investigation into the Smart Choices Program, which permitted manufacturers to brand with a favorable checkmark symbol foods that were nutritionally questionable, such as breakfast cereals containing 12 grams of sugar per serving, or about 40 percent by weight.
The states alleged that the program was deceptive under their consumer protection laws, and it was suspended indefinitely soon afterwards.