This article discusses the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) renewed interest in revising its approach to food serving sizes as front-of-package labeling gains traction in the marketplace. According to Times writer William Neuman, “The push to re-evaluate serving size comes as the F.D.A. is considering ways to better convey nutrition facts to hurried consumers, in particular by posting key information on the front of packages. Officials say such labeling will be voluntary, but the agency must set rules to prevent companies from highlighting the good things about their products, like a lack of trans fats, while ignoring the bad, like a surfeit of unhealthy saturated fats.”

Created in the 1990s to help shoppers “compare the nutritional values of different products,” serving sizes are based on eating habit surveys taken during the 1970s and 1980s. Neuman claims, however, that while many people “might eat two or three times” the serving size listed on the Nutrition Facts panel, they tend to focus solely on the calorie number when making food purchases. “On today’s food packages, many of the serving sizes puzzle even the experts,” writes Neuman, predicting that the Obama administration will encourage FDA to bring serving sizes “for foods like chips, cookies, breakfast cereals and ice cream into line with how Americans actually eat.”

“Still,” Neuman concedes, “the solution is not as simple as merely bumping up the standard portions for some foods. Officials worry that could send the wrong message. If the serving size for cookies rose to two ounces, from one ounce, for instance, some consumers might think the government was telling them it was fine to eat more.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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