The US Institute of Medicine has urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement a star rating system for packaged foods, similar to the Energy Star programme that rates consumer product efficiency.

The labels should rate the product’s sodium, sugar and fat content on a scale of zero to three and therefore allow consumers to choose the products that best suit them.

According to the IOM, the labels on package fronts should display calorific value in common household serving sizes.

The proposed system could prompt food makers to reformulate products to get more favourable ratings.

The FDA said it will review the panel’s recommendation, which aims to benefit consumers the most.