On Monday May 20th, the FDA finalized their proposal to change Nutrition Facts labels for packaged goods. Considering that these rules haven’t changed for over two decades, I was pleased to hear the Nutrition Facts label is finally getting a makeover.
Americans are changing their views of nutrition and they’re paying closer attention to food labels, with 47% saying they check ingredient lists when deciding what to purchase. According to the IFIC’s 2016 Food and Health Survey, people have less healthful views of:
- Added sugars
- Low-calorie sweeteners
- Enriched refined grains
- Saturated fat
Alternately, people have more positive views of:
- Natural sugars (like Stevia)
- Whole grains
- Protein from plant sources
Here is an overview of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label:
- Total calories, servings per container and serving size will be emphasized more with larger, bold font.
- A separate line for “Added Sugars” will be added. With the current NFP, you can’t tell what sugar is naturally occurring versus what has been added by the manufacturer.
- Serving sizes will reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if someone buys a 20-ounce bottle of soda they are not likely to stop drinking at the suggested serving of 8 ounces. The new rules would require the entire soda bottle be one serving size, which will simplify calorie counting.
- “Dual column” labels will be required for products that are larger than a single serving but could be consumed in one sitting, such as a pint of ice cream. The dual-column labels will help people understand how many calories or nutrients they are consuming if they eat or drink the entire package.
- The “Calories from Fat” line will be removed because the type of fat you eat matters more than the amount.
- The daily value for sodium will decrease from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams.
- The amount of Vitamin D, Potassium, Calcium and Iron in the product will be required. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required but can still be included on a voluntary basis.
Close to 17% of current serving size requirements will be changing if approved. This will help people better understand how many calories they actually consume, especially for foods like chips, soda and candy bars.
The FDA opened a 90-day comment period to allow experts and members of the public to voice their opinions. After that, the FDA will issue a final rule. Manufacturers will have 2 years to implement changes to Nutrition Facts labels with a deadline of July 26, 2018. Smaller manufacturers (under $10 million in annual food sales) will be given a third year to comply. In the next 2-3 years keep your eye out for the new Nutrition Facts label on packaged goods.