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After a long delay, Obama administration rules requiring calorie labeling on restaurant menus and new "Nutrition Facts" panels on food products will be implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Trump administration's year-long delay in moving forward with the new rules caused concern for public health advocates and consumer watchdogs, the Washington Post reported.
But FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Thursday that the new rules would be included in a wide-ranging, multiyear bundle of nutrition initiatives to be launched this summer in order to combat health problems such as obesity and heart disease.
Those initiatives will also include encouraging food makers to reduce salt in processed foods and making some food labels easier to understand, the Post reported.
"I'm committed to advancing our work in nutrition as one tool to help reduce health disparities and improve the lives of all Americans," and "to help every family live more free from the burden of preventable illness," Gottlieb said at a meeting of food industry representatives, consumer watchdogs and academics in Washington, D.C.
The initiatives outlined Thursday are part of what Gottlieb called the FDA's "Nutrition Innovation Strategy," and many continue programs introduced by the Obama administration, the Post reported.
While the food industry and some lawmakers in Congress have opposed reducing salt in processed foods, Gottlieb said the FDA will strive to lower salt in foods and said that salt reduction is the "single [most] effective public health action related to nutrition."
New, short-term voluntary salt reduction targets will be introduced in 2019 and the FDA will push for longer-term reductions to prevent high blood pressure and other health conditions associated with high salt intake.
Among the other measures: as of May 8, chain restaurants and grocery stores will have to display calorie and other nutrition information on menus; and beginning January 2020, food products will have to carry the new Nutrition Facts panel, which includes information about added sugars and highlights calorie counts in bold letters, the Post reported.
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