Food Engineering

FDA obesity fight focuses on food labels

April 1, 2004


In this example of FDA’s proposed new labeling, the difference in calories when the entire container for a 20 oz. soft drink is labeled as one serving should be more helpful to consumers. The agency is also recommending a larger font size for calories. Source: FDA.
To help tackle what FDA is calling the "nation's obesity epidemic," the agency released the final report of its Obesity Working Group. The group's long- and short-term proposals are based on the scientific fact that weight control is mainly a function of caloric balance. FDA's recommended actions include:

  • enhancing the food label to display calorie count more prominently and to use meaningful serving sizes
  • initiating a consumer education campaign focusing on the "Calories Count" message
  • encouraging restaurants to provide nutritional information to consumers
  • stepping up enforcement actions concerning accuracy of food labels
  • revising FDA guidance for developing drugs to treat obesity, and
  • working cooperatively with other government agencies, non-profits, industry, and academia on obesity research.
For more information visit www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/obesity/