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October 27, 2009

US: Unilever to “phase out” Smart Choices labels

Food giant Unilever is to "phase out" its use of the Smart Choices Program, the food labelling scheme under fire in the US.

Food giant Unilever is to “phase out” its use of the Smart Choices Program, the food labelling scheme under fire in the US.

The Smart Choices labels have been designed to help US shoppers eat more healthily and were launched in August on products owned by the likes of Unilever, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods and PepsiCo. 

However, the roll out of Smart Choices has been “voluntarily” halted amid a probe by US food safety officials into the nutrition claims made on the labels

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it was examining nutrition claims on the front of packages and would consider “enforcement actions” against clear violations of these established labelling requirements.

Amid the “voluntary” halt by the Smart Choices Program, Unilever has said it would “transition out” of the scheme.

The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate insisted it has long been committed to “clear, transparent nutritional information” for consumers, and said it “welcomed” the FDA’s own plans to develop standardised criteria on nutirition labelling.

Unilever said it will now await the FDA’s direction on future front-of-package nutrition labelling.

“Unilever will continue to support the Smart Choices Program coalition’s nutritional and scientific efforts while awaiting FDA guidance,” the company said.

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