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FDA changing nutrition facts label


May 24, 2016
By Doug Picklyk

Declaring added sugars and adjusting serving sizes to reflect the changing eating patterns of American citizens are two of the key changes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be requiring on the new updated nutritional information labels for most packaged foods sold in the United States.

On Friday, May 20, in a press release, the FDA Commissioner, Robert Califf, said: “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. 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.”

Among the key updates outlined, according to the press release the new nutrition facts label will include:

• An updated design to highlight calories and servings

• 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 per cent 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. Examples include a pint of ice cream and a 3-ounce bag of chips. Dual-column labels are designed so people will be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time.

Most food manufacturers will be required to use the new label by July 26, 2018.

Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

The FDA plans to conduct outreach and education efforts on the new requirements.