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GMA Calls for Carbohydrate Labeling Regulations

WASHINGTON - The Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish new regulations for carbohydrate nutrient content claims.

GMA contends the ability of food and beverage companies to provide consumers with the best information about carbohydrate content is limited, as there are no regulations allowing carbohydrate nutrient content claims.

GMA's petition requests that the Food and Drug Administration set federal regulations for carbohydrate nutrient content claims for single-serving foods, meal-type products, and main dishes.

Rather than narrowly focusing on one type of claim, GMA makes specific recommendations about the requirements for labeling foods and beverages as "carbohydrate-free," "low-carbohydrate," "good source of carbohydrates" and "excellent source of carbohydrates."

Should the FDA adopt this approach, carbohydrates would be the first nutrient to have labeling standards for the entire range of nutrient content claims, according to GMA.

"Clear and consistent labeling standards are an important reference point for consumers searching for the foods that will help them to achieve their dietary objectives. These labeling claims will alert consumers about the carbohydrate content of various foods and empower them to make the best choices based on their own needs, preferences and goals," said Alison Kretser, GMA director of nutrition and scientific policy.

GMA based its recommendation on the National Academy of Sciences'(NAS) Macronutrient Report as well as on FDA precedent for other nutrient content claims, including "low fat," "reduced sodium," and "good source of calcium." The NAS report provides the most comprehensive overview of the role and importance of carbohydrates in the diet and will be the basis for future labeling changes under consideration by the FDA.
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