New food labels aim to make healthy shopping easy

Thursday - 2/27/2014, 4:40pm EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The serving size listed on that pint of ice cream is based on the belief that you're only going to eat half a cup.

Sure you are.

The government knows you're not really going to stop there. So the new nutrition labels that have been proposed today for ice cream and lots of other popular foods are aimed partly at being more realistic -- reflecting what you really eat.

The estimated serving size for ice cream jumps from a half cup to a cup -- so the calorie listing on the label would double as well.

The proposal would also make the calorie counts on the labels more prominent, reflecting that nutritionists now focus more on calories than on fat.

And for the first time, the labels would have to list any sugars that are added by manufacturers.

Michelle Obama made the announcement of the new labeling recommendations as part of her Let's Move initiative to fight childhood obesity.

But the new labels are probably several years away. The Food and Drug Administration will take comments on the proposal for 90 days, and a final rule could take another year. And then, the agency might give food producers two years to comply.

The agency believes it will cost those companies a total of about $2 billion to revise labels.

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187-a-08-(Masha (MAH'-shuh) Fox-Rabinovich, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital, in AP interview)-"specified on a label"-Masha Fox-Rabinovich, a registered dietitian with Washington Adventist Hospital, says she's glad the proposed nutrition labels would show how much sugar has been added to food. (27 Feb 2014)

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186-a-16-(Masha (MAH'-shuh) Fox-Rabinovich, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Washington Adventist Hospital, in AP interview)-"the whole container"-Masha Fox-Rabinovich, a registered dietitian with Washington Adventist Hospital, says the nutrition labels now being used can really confuse people. ((note cut length)) (27 Feb 2014)

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178-a-14-(First lady Michelle Obama, in East Room announcement)-"roughly 700,000 products"-First lady Michelle Obama says the labels reflect two decades' worth of research -- and changing eating habits. (27 Feb 2014)

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GRAPHICSBANK: US FDA example of current (as of 2/27/2014) Nutrition Facts Label (l) and Proposed Label (r), on texture, partial graphic (27 Feb 2014)

APPHOTO GFX1506: Graphic compares nutrition labels. ; 3c x 5 inches; 146 mm x 127 mm; (27 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO DCCK111: Shanese Bryant-Melton, of Washington, DC., left, smiles as he looks to first lady Michelle Obama after introducing her during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, where Mrs. Obama spoke about helping parents and other consumers make healthier choices as part of her Let's Move program. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (27 Feb 2014)

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