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The Associated Press October 20, 2011, 11:13AM ET

Report: Food labels need Energy Star-like ratings

Just like that Energy Star tag helps consumers choose appliances, a report Thursday says a rating symbol on the front of every soup can and cereal box could help hurried shoppers go home with the healthiest foods.

The report urges the Food and Drug Administration to replace confusing clutter on food packages with new labels that help compare choices.

It wouldn't replace the in-depth Nutrition Facts panel that's now on the back of foods. But the Institute of Medicine wants labels on the front to show the most important information for health: How many calories per serving -- and just how big that serving is -- along with stars or some other symbol to tell at a glance how the food rates for certain fats, sodium and added sugars.

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