The familiar Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods is being updated to better serve the public.
This update is the latest in a long list of programs the Food and Drug Administration has actually implemented since 1994 to combat the obesity epidemic in the United States. The redesigned Nutrition Facts label will better reflect the eating habits of the current population.
“FDA’s goal in reformatting the Nutrition Facts label is to make it easier for consumers to make educated food choices and pursue a healthy diet,” said Darren Scott, food scientist at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center.
In March of 2014, the FDA began discussing revamping the Nutrition Facts label to make it a better tool for consumers to use in making informed food choices. The changes were finalized on May 20, 2016. The adjustments are meant to draw attention to the information most valuable to the consumer, while additionally making the label more understandable. The list of key changes is as follows:
· Vitamin A and C will no longer be required. Deficiencies of these vitamins are not common in the general population.
· Vitamin D and potassium will be added. Intakes of both these nutrients are reduced in some population groups; Vitamin D is important for bone health and potassium helps lower blood pressure.
· “Calories” and “serving size per container” type size will be increased and bolded. This is important information allowing consumers to assess the nutritional value of the food they are purchasing.
· The actual amount of vitamins and minerals will be listed.
· “Added Sugars” will be listed directly under “Sugars.” By distinguishing which sugars are added versus naturally occurring, consumers can focus on choosing foods that are more naturally sweet and will allow them to obtain enough daily fiber, essential vitamins and minerals while staying within calorie limits.
· Serving size information will be right justified, whereas it was on the left adverse previously.
· Serving size reference amounts will be updated. The serving sizes will be changed to reflect how much people typically eat at one time.
· The footnote information will be updated. The brand-new information will better explain the “Percent Daily Value.”
Additionally, packages containing more than one serving will have actually a dual column version of the Nutrition Facts label. The left adverse of the label will be normal, the center column will have actually the nutrition facts per serving, and the right adverse will show the nutrition facts for the entire package. FDA will mandate this design for packages containing 2-3 servings.
“These brand-new regulations must be complied along with by July 26, 2018,” Scott said. “However, small companies along with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have actually until July 26, 2019, to comply.”