Proposed TRUTH Bill Advocates for Front-of-Package Labeling
Front-of-package labels have made it to Congress! Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut and Representative Jan Schakowsky from Illinois recently presented the Transparency, Readability, Understandability, Truth, and Helpfulness (TRUTH) in Labeling Act to Congress. This proposed act would mandate the FDA create new front-of-package labels for food and beverage items. If approved in its current form, manufacturers will need to highlight added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat levels on the front of product packaging within a three-year timeframe. According to a survey by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), 75 percent of Americans support this initiative (4).
The TRUTH Act, identified as S.3512, strives to empower Americans in making more informed choices. The average American exceeds recommended intake levels of added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat, as outlined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published under section 301 of the Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (4). This overconsumption potentially elevates the risk of conditions such as hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. The TRUTH Act aims to address this by introducing a spotlight-style color system on the front of packages. This system enables consumers to swiftly discern crucial information without having to flip the package and inspect the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP). Front-of-package labels prove especially advantageous for busy shoppers and individuals with limited nutritional knowledge. It’s important to note that the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of the package will remain a mandatory requirement.
Tucked in at the end of the bill are a couple of paragraphs that hint at the full agenda (1). It’s certainly one that Icon Foods finds interesting. Section 3—Reports—calls for the Secretary to submit to Congress a report within 5 years on whether there is an increase in the prevalence of low- or no-calorie sweeteners—such as stevia, monk fruit, allulose, and thaumatin—in the US food supply in response to the TRUTH packaging changes (2). It also calls for further monitoring of low- or no-calorie sweeteners if an increase has occurred. The bill does not ask for reporting on saturated fats or sodium.
The TRUTH act will certainly pose a challenge to food and beverage manufactures, who at the very least, will need to change their packaging to make room for the new labels. For some, it will mean cleaning up their formula—if they want to avoid a negative callout. Icon Foods is uniquely positioned to help brands prepare for this with our line of sweeteners, sweetening systems, fibers, and inclusions designed to make deep clean cuts to added sugar. Contact us today for formulation and reformulation assistance and additional resources!
- Hazen, Cindy. “Proposed Front-of-Package Nutritional Label Legislation Calls for Monitoring Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners.” Food Beverage Insider, 14 Dec. 2023, www.foodbeverageinsider.com/food-beverage-regulations/proposed-front-of-package-nutritional-label-legislation-calls-for-monitoring-low-and-no-calorie-sweeteners.
- “S.3512 – 118th Congress (2023-2024): TRUTH in Labeling Act.” Congress.gov, Library of Congress, 13 December 2023, https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/3512.
- “TRUTH in Labeling Act of 2023 Fact Sheet.” Center for Science in the Public Interest. Center for Science in the Public Interest. 15 December 2023. Web. 24 Jan 2024. https://www.cspinet.org/resource/truth-labeling-act-2023-fact-sheet.
- “Widespread Support for Mandatory Front-of-Package Labeling in the United States.” Center for Science in the Public Interest. Center for Science in the Public Interest. 5 April 2023. Web. 24 Jan 2024. https://www.cspinet.org/resource/widespread-support-mandatory-front-package-labeling-united-states.