In a move that has been anticipated since 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration recently announced changes to the “Nutrition Facts” label required to be placed on packaged foods. See the FDA’s page on Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. The changes reflect numerous scientific research findings as well as changes in behavior of American consumers since 1993 when the label was last updated. Among other changes, the serving sizes of foods will increase or decrease: for example, somewhat depressingly, serving sizes for ice cream will increase to reflect the reality that consumers eat more than a half cup of ice cream when they indulge their ice cream craving, while serving sizes for yogurt will decrease because Americans eat less yogurt than they used to when they eat that healthy snack. Additionally, recognizing that packaging affects how much consumers eat, products that contain between one and two servings must be labeled as one serving. For instance, a 12-ounce can of soda and a 20-ounce bottle of soda will each have to list the nutrition information for the entire container as one serving.
Other changes include, for example:
- Vitamin D and Potassium will be newly added to the label, reflecting that Americans do not get enough of either;
- “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will now be included on the label. The FDA explains that on average Americans obtain 13 percent of their calories from added sugars, e.g., from sweetened beverages and snacks.
- “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will remain on the label, but “Calories from Fat” will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
Manufacturers must adopt the new label by July 26, 2018, but manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales will have an additional year to comply.
The FDA provides the following example comparing the existing and new labels: