In recent weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun enforcing new rules requiring more stringent scrutiny of the nutritional content of food.
The agency says that under its new guidelines, companies need to show a greater degree of transparency in what ingredients they use and how much of those ingredients are added to food.
But food safety experts say those rules will likely lead to more problems than benefits, especially for consumers who rely on fresh foods.
“I don’t think anyone wants to lose their grocery shopping habits because they’re going to be eating more expensive, inferior food,” said Gary Heffernan, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“It’s the consumer who’s going to suffer.”
But the rules also make a big difference for small-business owners, who rely heavily on low-cost ingredients to make the goods they sell.
“When they get their products to market, they need the food to be good and to be fresh and to have a healthy product,” said Dan Tulloch, executive vice president of the food service industry for the National Restaurant Association.
“They need to be buying a lot of fresh produce and other healthy foods.
The rules are going to make it a lot harder for people to get those products.”
So far, the agency says the new rules will only affect food manufacturers.
But the agency said it plans to expand the rules to other food groups and food processing companies, such as farmers markets and restaurants.
The USDA says that companies must also show the level of traceability they have in the supply chain and in how they use ingredients.
For example, if a supplier uses a different type of protein, that will need to come out and be listed on the label.
But if a manufacturer uses the same type of flour and other ingredients, that can be omitted.
The rules also require companies to include in their supply chain, or the company’s main source of products, the following information:The USDA’s new rules are aimed at making it easier for consumers to compare food labels.
The new rules also give small companies an advantage, because they have more control over the food they make.
“This is a much more simplified process,” said Peter Wirth, an associate professor of food safety at Rutgers University.
“We’ve seen a lot more regulatory transparency in recent years.
Consumers have seen a greater amount of information.”
The rules will go into effect in 2018.