WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration has requested that any parties interested in the issues of front-of-package nutrition labels and retail shelf tags submit comments as well as data regarding the topics.

Specifically, the agency would like to learn more about the extent to which consumers notice, use and understand nutrition symbols on front-of-pack labeling of food packages or on shelf tags in retail stores; research that assesses and compares the effectiveness of particular approaches to front-of-pack labeling; graphic design, marketing and advertising data and information that can help develop better point-of-purchase nutrition information; and how point-of-purchase information may affect decisions by food manufacturers to reformulate products.

The F.D.A. raised the issue in January 2008 and said at that time it would be developing a regulation addressing front-of-package nutrition labels to ensure consumers are not confused or misled by front-of-package symbols. Specifically, the agency said it would propose a regulation to define the nutritional criteria that would have to be met by food companies making front-of-package claims about a product’s nutritional quality.

The F.D.A. is accepting comments until July 28, 2010. Comments may be sent to http://www.regulations.gov, by entering Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0210. Written comments also may be sent to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305) Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville Md., 20852.

The full Federal Register Notice may be viewed by visiting: http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-09939_PI.pdf.