NuVal is a nutrition rating system, placed in 1,600 grocery stores in 31 states, which rates the health of products on a scale of 1 to 100 using a proprietary algorithm. The league has raised concerns about the system's use of the algorithm, which it says produces inconsistent and illogical scores, and has instead called on the agency to develop an improved, universal front-of-package labeling scheme that would be more helpful to consumers.
"It's a wild west out there currently," said Sally Greenberg, the National Consumers League's executive director. "There are many competing rating systems, a state of play that can leave consumers feeling even more confused than they were in the first place. It is important that the federal government step up and develop a consistent system of front-of-package labeling.
"We applaud the USDA for taking a leadership role on labeling," said Greenberg. "We would urge the FDA, which has jurisdiction over around 80 percent of food products in this country, to follow the lead of its sister agency. If it's not good enough for the USDA, it shouldn't be good enough for the FDA. Consumers must have access to an objective, government-run front-of-package labeling scheme to get the clear and consistent information they need to make healthy dietary choices for their families."