Back in 2016, the FDA published new requirements for the Nutrition Facts Table (or NFT) on packaged foods. This update was made to reflect new scientific information, linking together diet and chronic diseases, such as obesity and heart disease. This updated NFT appears on most food packaging and allows consumers to make better and more informed food choices.
Although the new requirements for the NFT were released in 2016, the FDA had rolling compliance dates for the NFTs, which are as follows:
Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales were required to update their labels by January 1, 2020.
Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales were required to update their labels by January 1, 2021.
Manufacturers of most single-ingredient sugars, such as honey and maple syrup, and certain cranberry products have until July 1, 2021, to make the changes.
What are the Seven New Changes to the Nutrition Facts Table?
There have been seven changes made to the Nutrition Facts Table, while still retaining its “iconic” look. The changes offer consumers more information than before and make information more visible by increasing its size and location.
The changes include:
Servings: Type sizes updated, larger and bolder “to ensure consumers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.” Furthermore, Serving Size changes “must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating“. The FDA provides an example with ice cream; previously the recommended serving of ice cream was 1/2 cup or 12 ounces. This recommended serving has changed to 2/3 cup or 8 ounces The label updates will capture this change. For certain products that can be consumed in one or multiple sittings, manufacturers have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the number of calories and nutrients for both “per serving” and “per package/per unit” basis. This dual-column label will more easily help consumers understand the caloric and nutritional intake of the whole unit.
Calories: Larger type size with the same goal as the servings section, to give consumers better access to information.
Daily Values: This section of the label has “been updated based on newer scientific evidence from the Institute of Medicine and other reports“. Manufacturers must declare the actual amount and the percent Daily Value of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Potassium. For other vitamins and minerals, manufacturers can voluntarily declare the gram amount.
Added Sugars: New subsection of Total Sugars: Added Sugars must be included on the label. Single-ingredient sugars have different labeling requirements.
Nutrients Required: This section has been updated to have Vitamin D and Potassium amounts required. Calcium and Iron continue to be required on the label, while Vitamins A and C are no longer required but can be included voluntarily.
Amounts Declared: Updated to reflect the latest science.
New Footnote: The footnote at the bottom of the label now better explains what percent Daily Value means.
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