Food Safety and Nutrition

Using the Label!
Participants select the food label section they use The first of two Web Seminars on the topic of Food Safety and Nutrition was held on Thursday, November 9, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The presenter was Camille Brewer, Associate Director for the Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The presentation focused on the key parts of the food and nutrition labels and how these can be used to help consumers make healthful food choices. Ideas for using the food and nutrition labels in the classroom were shared by the participants.

Thirty-two (32) participants were present in addition to the presenter and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In this presentation educators had the opportunity to learn about the food and nutrition labels. The food and nutrition labels Participants compare the amount of sugar in plain versus fruit yogurt provide consumers nutrition information about almost every food available in the grocery store. Ms. Brewer described the easy-to-read formats established by the FDA that enable consumers to more quickly find the information they need to make healthful food choices. She explained, for example, that the food name and the amount of food in the package must be placed in the product's Primary Display Panel or PDP. Other information available in the labels includes the amount per serving of saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary fiber, and other nutrients of major concern. Brewer described how a product's claims about the relationship between a nutrient or food and a disease or health-related condition, such as calcium and osteoporosis, and fat and cancer, can be helpful for people who are concerned about eating foods that may help keep them healthier longer. During the program, Ms. Brewer answered many of the participants' questions and challenged them with a few multiple choice questions to compare different food labels of similar products, like plain yogurt versus fruit yogurt. All participants received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide on NASA Exploration: The Moon, Mars & Beyond, grades 5-8.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
  • "I teach general science, and with the onset of childhood obesity, I believe that pointing out nutrition labeling can help my students."
  • "The next time I am teaching nutrition as part of my anatomy class I will have a better idea of how to break down a nutrition label for high school students who have never been introduced to them."
  • "I am so happy to have been able to participate and to have been exposed to this information. I think it is excellent that you are willing to reach out to educators and enlighten us so that we can do the same for our students."
  • "Camille clearly described what all the parts of the label were, and what the regulations were for clear labeling. This information is found on all food labels, and is therefore very applicable to both students and teachers."

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!


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  Underwritten in part by FDA