The National Consumers League (NCL) has filed a formal complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a nutritional scoring system.
The scoring system is used in 1,600 stores nationwide (US) - that gives Doritos Tortilla Chips and Ghirardelli 'Caramel Turtle Chocolate Brownie Mix' higher nutritional ratings than canned peaches or mandarin oranges.
National Consumers League executive director, Sally Greenberg, said: “The NuVal rating system is fatally flawed and should be discarded. Its algorithmic formula – which is not transparent to consumers or the scientific community – results in snack chips, soft drinks and desserts being given as high or higher nutritional scores than some canned fruits and vegetables.
"NuVal’s so-called nutritional ratings are a travesty that confuse, rather than enlighten, consumers. We need the FDA to step in and set industry-wide standards. Moreover, the FDA should not allow NuVal or any other flawed nutritional rating system to further confuse consumers who are trying to make healthy decisions for their families.”
The FDA wrote to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute in 2011 setting conditions for use of the trade associations’ 'Facts up Front' labelling programme.
The FDA, however, has not taken any public action in regard to NuVal, nor has it published any standard criteria for nutritional rating systems, resulting in a 'Wild West' atmosphere that confuses consumers, according to the league.
NCL’s concern is magnified by the fact that the NuVal system is in widespread use. “These misleading ratings in stores nationwide call out for a response from federal regulators.
"We have to prevent systems like NuVal from spreading misleading nutritional information to consumers. If we don't, we’re letting down the very people who need us most for nutritional advice: the parents, the seniors and the average consumers trying to get the most nutritional value for their dollar," said Greenberg.
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