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Formal Complaint Filed Regarding NuVal Retail Food Scoring System

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The National Consumers League (NCL) filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 10 regarding the NuVal nutritional scoring system that is being used by some retail grocery chains to provide information to consumers.

NuVal uses a proprietary algorithm to rate the nutritional content of a wide variety of foods on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher scores being more favorable. The product scores are presented on shelf tags in over 1,600 stores nationwide. The scoring system has been criticized due to some questionable ratings. For example, chocolate brownie mixes were assigned a score of 22, while the scores of canned green beans (22), diced pears (10) and cling peach chunks (10) were lower.

NuVal does not disclose the method used to derive their scores. In its complaint to FDA, the NCL contends that the NuVal system is misleading and that FDA has an obligation to ensure that consumers are receiving accurate nutritional information. NCL also notes that U.S. government dietary guidelines emphasize that consumers should eat more fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and the NuVal system seems to send a contradictory signal to consumers regarding some products.


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