On Friday, the FDA finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods, marking the first major changes in over 20 years, according to a release. The new label is said to “reflect new scientific information” and “make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices.”
The three major change categories are a refreshed design, a reflection of updated information about nutrition science, and an update on serving sizes and labeling requirements for certain package sizes.
The label maintains its “iconic” look, but calories, servings per container, and serving size declarations are in a larger type size, and the number of calories and serving size are bolded to further emphasize this information. Manufacturers are also required to list amounts and percent Daily Value of Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. The inclusion of other vitamins and minerals on the label is voluntary.
Information on added sugars, in grams and in percent Daily Value, will be on the new label. Calories from fat is being removed as scientific research shows that the type of fat is more important than the amount. Daily values for specific nutrients, including sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D, are being updated to reflect newer scientific findings.
Serving sizes, by law, must be based on the amount of food and beverages that people are actually consuming; however, the amount of food and drink that people consume has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. The new label also takes into account the fact that package size affects how much people eat. This means that packages that are between one and two servings will be labeled as one, as people will likely consume the entire package in one sitting. Lastly, certain products that are larger than a single serving but could be consumed in one sitting (e.g. a pint of Ben & Jerry’s) must have “dual column” labels detailing calories and nutrients “per serving” and “per package/per unit.”
Manufacturers have until July 26, 2018 to use the new label. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have an additional year to comply.
Interested in learning more about nutritional information? Check our story on a device that gives you nutritional information on foods without labels.