CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Mortgage forbearance requests jump nearly 2,000%, FDA temporarily eases food label requirements, and Whatsapp limits message forwarding to slow spread of misinformation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Mortgage forbearance requests spike nearly 2,000% in response to coronavirus pandemic

The number of mortgage forbearance requests has skyrocketed in recent weeks, according to a new survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

According to the survey, forbearance requests grew by 1,270% between March 2 and March 16, then grew another 1,896% from March 16 to March 30.

The number of loans in forbearance grew from 0.25% to 2.66% in the period between March 2 to April 1.

"MBA's survey highlights the immediate relief consumers are seeking as they navigate the economic hardships brought forth by the mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Senior Vice President and Chief Economist.

FDA temporarily relaxes food labeling requirements to speed up food supply chain

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in the interest of speeding up the food supply chain, has temporarily relaxed its food labeling guidelines.

The FDA issued documents aimed at food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants. Acknowledging the shift of many restaurants from in-house dining to selling packaged food to go, the FDA stated it would not object if the packaged food didn't bear a nutrition label -- so long as the restaurant doesn't make any nutritional claims. The FDA is also easing menu labeling requirements.

One of the other guidelines pertains to the sale of eggs, which have been in increased demand since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place responses. The FDA says "it does not intend to object" to the sale of unlabeled eggs sold in cartons or flats, as long as the retailer posts information about the origin of the eggs, and how to safely handle them.

WhatsApp limits how often a message can be forwarded to slow spread of misinformation

Messaging app WhatsApp is restricting the ability to forward messages in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

WhatsApp announced the change in a blog post on Tuesday. Now, users who receive a message that has already been "highly forwarded" (sent five or more times) can only forward it to one new chat at a time. Previously, users could forward the message to five new chats at once.

"Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," the blog states. "However, we've seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it's important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation."



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