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NCJ Number: 69445 Find in a Library
Title: GAO (GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE) AND THE CONSUMER - THE NEED FOR BETTER FOOD LABELING (FROM CASES IN ACCOUNTABILITY, P 35-42, 1979, BY ERASMUS H KLOMAN SEE NCJ-69444)
Author(s): J L JACOBS
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Westview Press, Inc
Boulder, CO 80301
Sale Source: Westview Press, Inc
Marketing Director
5500 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE 1970'S HAVE SEEN A COMPREHENSIVE SURVEY BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) INTO THE FOOD INDUSTRY'S COMPLIANCE WITH THE FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT (FPLA).
Abstract: THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO), ITS REGIONAL OFFICES IN DETROIT AND BOSTON, AND THE MANPOWER AND WELFARE DIVISION CONDUCTED THE AGENCY-WIDE SURVEY OF FDA THAT LED TO A FURTHER SURVEY OF FOOD LABELING AND THE FPLA. THE SURVEY FOCUSED ON SIX MAJOR MEASURABLE FACTORS THAT A CONCERNED CONSUMER MIGHT CONSIDER IN SELECTING PRODUCTS: INGREDIENTS, NUTRITIONAL VALUE, PERCENTAGE OF PRINCIPAL INGREDIENTS, QUALITY GRADES, FRESHNESS OF PERISHABLES, AND PRICE. THE REPORT FOUND THAT PRODUCTS WITH ONLY A GENERALIZED INGREDIENT LISTING MAY NOT PROVIDE CONSUMERS (ESPECIALLY THOSE ON A SPECIAL DIET) WITH ENOUGH INFORMATION. WHEN MEASURED AGAINST THE GOAL OF FACILITATING CONSUMER COMPARISONS AS STATED IN THE FPLA, THE GAO FOUND THAT PRODUCT LABELS FREQUENTLY LACKED INFORMATION DISCLOSING THE AMOUNT OF CHARACTERIZING INGREDIENTS IN THE PRODUCT (E.G., THE AMOUNT OF BEEF IN BEEF STEW). THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S SEVERAL SETS OF GRADE NAMES AND DESIGNATIONS WERE FOUND TO BE CONFUSING TO CONSUMERS, AND THE VARIETY OF DATES ON PERISHABLES RESULTED IN GENERAL MISUNDERSTANDING. THE GAO WAS ALSO ABLE TO STATE DEFINITIVELY THAT BY USING UNIT PRICING CONSUMERS CAN SAVE MONEY IN COMPARISON SHOPPING AND THAT CONSUMER SAVINGS FROM UNIT PRICING CAN OFFSET THE COST TO STORES OF PROVIDING THE SERVICE. AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO THE FPLA INCLUDED (1) REQUIRING FULL DISCLOSURE OF ALL INGREDIENTS ON PACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO STANDARDS, (2) AUTHORIZING THE FDA TO REQUIRE FOOD LABELS TO SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFY SPICES, FLAVORINGS, AND COLORINGS, AND (3) ESTABLISHING A UNIFORM OPEN-DATING SYSTEM FOR PERISHABLE AND SEMIPERISHABLE FOODS. A UNIT-PRICING PROGRAM WAS PROPOSED NATIONWIDE. SIX NOTES AND FIVE STUDY QUESTIONS ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Consumer advocates; Consumers; Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Public information; US Government Accountability Office (GAO)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69445

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