Nutrition facts label A

US: FDA modernises nutrition facts label

The US FDA has taken a major step in making sure consumers have updated nutritional information for most packaged foods sold in the US.

Most food manufacturers will have to comply with the redesign by July 2018, but those who sell less than $10-million in products a year have until 2019 to make the changes.

“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, MD.

“The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices – one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.”

The new label still retains the minimalist black-and-white, two-column look that designers have praised over the years, and it highlights many of the same categories, such as cholesterol and sodium. 

Even though it doesn’t look all that different, some categories are now emphasised more than others, and the way some numbers are calculated has changed.

These are critical updates that highlight the breakthroughs in nutrition science and upheavals in our country’s disease burden over the years. Many of the changes represent losses for the food industry, which fought hard against updates because they essentially put some of the blame for our poor health on added sugars, eating overly large quantities of servings and consuming too many calories.

Nutrition facts labelThe new Nutrition Facts label will include the following (click pic to enlarge):

An updated design to highlight “calories” and “servings,” two important elements in making informed food choices.

Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat.

Declaration of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for “added sugars” to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product.

It is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars, and this is consistent with the scientific evidence supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“Dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings.

For packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20 oz (591ml) soda, the calories and other nutrients will be required to be labelled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting.

Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fibre and vitamin D, consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV that manufacturers include on the label.

Declaration of Vitamin D and potassium that will include the actual gram amount, in addition to the %DV. These are nutrients that some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. The %DV for calcium and iron will continue to be required, along with the actual gram amount.

Vitamins A and C will no longer be required because deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but these nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis.

“Calories from Fat” will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount. “Total Fat”, “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required.

An abbreviated footnote to better explain the %DV.
The FDA is also making minor changes to the Supplement Facts label found on dietary supplements to make it consistent with the Nutrition Facts label.

The iconic Nutrition Facts label was introduced more than 20 years ago to help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices. In March 2014, the FDA proposed two rules to update the label, and in July 2015, issued a supplemental proposed rule.

The Nutrition Facts label regulations apply to packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the US. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

“I am thrilled that the FDA has finalised a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”

“Americans concerned about nutrition and their health owe a special debt of gratitude for the role played by the First Lady of the United States,” Jacobson said. “Michelle Obama’s leadership accelerated these updates to Nutrition Facts labels, and the helpful changes will be a major part of the Obama Administration’s food policy legacy, along with improving school foods, eliminating artificial trans fat, putting calorie counts on chain restaurant menus, and spurring positive progress by the food industry.”

Source: www.foodingredientsfirst.com