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FDA to consider using symbols, color coding on nutrition labels

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WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is considering adding symbols to nutrition labels to help make shopping for healthier choices a simpler task, officials revealed on Monday.

Similar to a traffic light system, future nutrition labels may rank foods by a red, yellow or green mark to allow shoppers to decipher between food that is low or high in fat, sugar or salt.

The system is already used in Great Britain, but officials have pointed out that any steps towards updating nutrition labels are for now, just an idea.

Some food manufacturers, like PepsiCo, have used their "Smart Spot" symbols on everything from diet sodas to potato chips to show consumers they are enjoying the foods they love without sacrificing their health in the process.

Ann Marie Krautheim, a nutrition expert National Dairy Council, said setting up a consistent system would be helpful, if it was tested on consumers to assure its effectiveness. Krautheim also said, however, the Council’s own research proved that consumers were more likely to choose taste over nutrition.

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