Study: Calorie Labeling ‘Feasible’

WASHINGTON — The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, said retailers should have no trouble providing calorie counts for prepared foods.

In a recent study, CSPI found that 36 of the nation’s top 50 supermarkets and convenience stores sold prepared foods. Of those, 81% already had nutrition information available for at least some prepared foods, while 78% employed registered  dietitians.

Based on those findings, CSPI concluded it is “feasible” for retailers to conduct the additional nutritional analyses needed to display calorie counts on all foods prepared in-store.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulations for calorie labeling under the Affordable Care Act that would include supermarkets and convenience stores.

“If chain restaurants have to disclose calories, it would only be fair that supermarkets and convenience stores that sell fast food or other prepared meals should disclose calories as well,” Margo G. Wootan, CSPI nutrition policy director, said in a statement. “Besides, supermarkets are acting more and more like restaurants, by offering buffets, salad bars, delis and seating at tables.”

Some supermarkets provide calorie information through in-store pamphlets, but other research shows few consumers end up seeing these displays, CSPI said.

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