Food: Nutrition, Packaging, Waste and Safety

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Federal nutrition guidelines provide broad guidance for healthy populations, but do not focus on the varying nutritional needs of older adults. Chapter 1 examines (1) the relationship of older adults' nutrition to health outcomes and the extent to which federal nutrition guidelines address older adults' nutritional needs, (2) nutrition requirements in federal nutrition assistance programs serving older adults and how these requirements are overseen, and (3) challenges program providers face in meeting older adults' nutritional needs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken steps to address consumer confusion about date labels on packaged foods. For example, to reduce confusion about introductory phrases on date labels, such as whether the dates indicate food is safe to eat, and resulting food waste, USDA in December 2016 issued a fact sheet on date labels for consumers. Chapter 2 describes the steps USDA and FDA have taken to address consumer confusion about date labels and examines the extent to which USDA and FDA have coordinated with each other and with nonfederal stakeholders on date labels. Chapter 3 reports on the challenges that exist to reducing food loss and waste (FLW) in the United States. Disease outbreaks from tainted food are an ongoing public health challenge. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year, one in six Americans, 48 million people, get sick from foodborne illnesses, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die as reported in chapter 4.

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