January 24th, 2014
06:30 PM ET
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Choosing healthier snacks may soon be easier.

The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it's unclear when the labels will change.

The labels have remained pretty much the same for decades. It wasn't until the late 1960s that most food labels listed any nutrition information at all.

At the time, labels with calorie or sodium counts were mainly used on products the FDA considered to have "special dietary uses" - for people with high blood pressure who were watching sodium, for instance.

Most people were making meals at home then, so there wasn't a huge demand for this information. That changed as more people started eating processed foods.

Noticing the trend, the White House pulled together a conference of nutritionists and food manufacturers in 1969. But it wasn't until 1972 that the FDA proposed regulations about what those nutrition labels should show.

Nutrition labeling was voluntary at first. It wasn't until 1990 that the FDA required nutrition labels for most prepared and packaged foods. Labels for raw produce and fish remains voluntary.

"It's time to update (labels) to make (them) easier for consumers to use," said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Read - Fat, calories, sugar: Nutrition labels getting a makeover

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. AleeD®

    "It's time to update (labels) to make (them) easier for consumers to use,"

    Oh God. Our gubmint is going to start dumbing down the labels, aren't they? People, really. Just learn what dihydrogen monoxide actually is and that it's good for you.

    January 27, 2014 at 6:49 am |
    • RC@ AleeD®

      Too much of it can kill you ;)

      January 27, 2014 at 10:38 am |
      • AleeD®@RC

        True, but that could be said of anything. ;)

        January 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • RC@ AleeD®

          Yup. Too much of a good thing........

          January 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
    • ChemGirl

      Some people legitimately need to have their hand held on this kind of stuff, because it is apparently not obvious that eating family sized bags of chips everyday isn't good for you, and that tons of sugar/excess calories causes problems. And then other people see 'citric acid' on a label and lose their minds because "Oh no, ACID it must be poison!"
      It's really, really sad :(

      January 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
      • Callous in Calgary

        I refuse to enable anyone. If they can't read, teach them. If they don't understand, explain it to them. You don't dumb down an established system that works – you raised up the uninitiated. THAT'S progress.

        January 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  2. Arturo Féliz-Camilo

    Reblogged this on Mr. Feliz's Blog (Teacher Arturo).

    January 26, 2014 at 8:59 am |
  3. Jen

    Full ingredients listing is what really matters.

    January 25, 2014 at 11:30 am |
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