Proposed Changes to the U.S Nutrition Facts Label and Dietary Supplement Facts Labels

March 24, 2014 By

FDA proposes drastic changes to update required information on Nutrition Facts label on food packages and dietary supplements.

FDA has proposed to update the Nutrition Facts label on food packages and dietary supplements to reflect updated health and scientific information.  Information such as serving size requirements are to be updated with the actual amount of food which people consume (i.e. whole container) as opposed to the recommended serving sizes.  This will be the biggest update to the nutrition facts label in over 20 years.  In addition, the format of the label would be revised with changes to main elements such as calories, serving sizes, and percent daily value (%DV) such that they are more prominent on the label. The proposed changes are based on new dietary recommendations, consensus reports and national survey data.  This has been obtained from rule makers and many citizen petitions. FDA is also proposing some corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements, including changes to daily values and units of measure.

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990 gave the FDA the authority to require nutrition labeling on foods and the FDA issued final regulations for the Nutrition Facts label on January 6, 1993. FDA was also required by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 to also establish nutrition labeling requirements for dietary supplements. These were published in 1997 and became effective in 1999.

One of the proposed changes to reflect updated nutrition science information is the requirement of placing “added sugars” on the nutrition facts labels. The daily values for sodium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin D will also be updated and manufacturers will be required to list the amount of potassium and vitamin D on the label because they are now considered “nutrients of public health significance”. Calcium and iron would continue to be required, and Vitamins A and C could be included on a voluntary basis. “Calories from Fat” would be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.

The updated nutrition facts labels are proposed to reflect the actual amount people consume rather than what they should eat.  This would include packaged foods and drinks that are typically eaten in one sitting and should have a nutrition facts label that reflects the whole container as opposed to just a recommended portion. For packages that can be consumed in one or multiple sittings, a dual column nutrition facts is recommended to provide the values for one sitting and for the entire container.

Calories and serving size are to be larger and more prominent on the label to emphasize that these items are critical for public knowledge and to those concerned with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Daily values are proposed to be placed on the left side of the label to ensure it would be the first piece of information brought to consumer attention to ensure awareness regarding the relative nutrient content in the food and how it is relative to a total daily diet. Finally, the footnote regarding the percent daily value is to be revised to more clearly explain the meaning of the Percent Daily Value.

The FDA has proposed the following changes to the nutrition facts label that will also apply to the supplement facts label for dietary supplements:

  • proposed      changes to the Daily Values
  • nutrients of      public health significance
  • removal of      the mandatory declaration of “Calories from fat”
  • mandatory      declaration of added sugars, when present
  • changes to      the units of measure

Compliance is expected to take place 2 years from the date the proposed rules becomes effective which is 60 days after the final rule is published.

Dicentra offers can assist you with both dietary supplement compliance by conducting product classification, formulation reviews, and label reviews including nutrition facts and supplement facts creation. We specialize in the areas of natural health products, dietary supplements, foods, cosmetics and OTCs. We can be reached at 1-866-647-3279 or