FDA Proposes Revisions to Nutrition Facts Label

April 14, 2014 By

FDA proposes radical changes to Nutrition Facts label to aid consumers. Proposal currently under consultation, so no changes are required yet.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new public health and scientific information. The proposed label would also update out-of-date serving size requirements to better align with how much people really eat and would now highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

Changes to the label being proposed may include:

  • Requiring manufacturers to indicate “added sugars” as a new category under “Total Carbohydrate”.   This requirement is because it is recommended that consumers eat less food with “added sugars” as these foods have a high caloric value and lower nutrient content.
  • The calories from fat would no longer be required as it is more important to focus solely on the type of fat rather than the total amount of fat.   Therefore total, saturated, and trans fat will still be required
  • Presenting calorie and nutrition information for the whole package or whole individual units.  This is to bring inline the nutrition information of what people are actually eating instead of what they should be eating.
  • Requiring the declaration of potassium and vitamin D on the label as vitamin D contributes to healthy bones and potassium helps to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.   It was found that the average consumer is not consuming enough of these vitamins.
  • Listing vitamins A and C would now be voluntary, as data now indicates that deficiencies with vitamins A and C are no longer as common as they once were.
  • Revising the daily values for a variety of nutrients such as calcium, dietary fiber and vitamin D.  The daily values would now be shifted to the far left, so that it is the first information the consumer reads when reviewing the nutrients on the nutrition facts.
  • Larger formatting emphasis on calorie and serving size
  • A change to the footnote to include a clearer description of what percent daily value really means so that consumers understand the importance of paying attention to the percent daily value in each food they consume.

The proposed changes would affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The proposed nutrition facts label changes have been divided up by the FDA into two proposed rules. The first rule would update the nutrition information based on the nutrition science and the other rule would propose the changes to the label formatting on how important information should be highlighted on the label

The FDA also is proposing corresponding updates to the supplement facts label on dietary supplements, including proposed changes to the Daily Values and the units of measure.

Currently, the proposed changes to the nutrition facts label are available for public comment for 90 days and are open to both public and industry for comment. Once the proposed changes have been finalized, it is proposed that manufacturers will have two years after the effective date to comply with the final requirements for their nutrition facts label.

At present there is no need to be worried about updating labels, however, compliant food labels are still an area of concern for the FDA and nutrition facts labels should be verified.  FDA has issued several warning letters for those products who’s content are not accurately presented on a nutrition facts label and the same applies to dietary supplement supplements facts.

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