Mens Health | Womens Health News

Thursday, October 27, 2005

McDonald’s to add nutrition data to packaging

By mid-2006 most McDonald’s food packaging, such as the wrappers and boxes for hamburgers, will include basic nutritional information. Yesterday’s announcement confirms the key elements of industry rumors that CalorieLab Calorie Counter News reported here on October 5.

Each food package will contain a small infographic showing the amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, indicated both in units and in the percentage of the Food and Drug Administration’s Daily Reference Values for a 2,000 calorie diet. As shown in the diagram below, the infographic will include a user-friendly bar chart displaying the percentage of the DRV that is contained in the item.

The announcement was met with praise by most nutrition and health authorities. However Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest quibbled that the packaging would not break out saturated and trans fat from the overall fat figure. And public interest law activist Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University Law School expressed concern that the values to be displayed were based only on a 2,000 calorie diet. This exceeds the calorie needs of small children, who represent a significant segment of McDonald’s customers. The 2,000 calorie level is the standard for Nutrition Facts food labels for packaged food, and represents the average daily calorie needs of postmenopausal women. Men and active younger women usually need more calories, while children below 10 years of age may need fewer, depending on activity levels.

Both Jacobson and Banzhaf complained that customers would not see the nutritional information until after ordering their food, preventing comparison of items. In addition, customers who order multiple items need to add up the values themselves.

A spokeswoman for Burger King told the New York Times that they had no plans to add nutritional labels to their packaging. For the benefit of Burger King customers CalorieLab Calorie Counter News took the liberty in the diagram above to use the nutritional data for the Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich, formatted according to the new McDonald’s packaging standards.


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