By Aubrey Brophy, Dietetic Intern
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing new updates for the current Nutrition Facts label that appears on most food and beverage items. The new food label is meant to reflect the current nutrition issues Americans face, primarily overweight and obesity, lack of certain vitamins and minerals and increase readability and comprehension
What are the main changes?
- Serving Sizes – The serving sizes seen at the top of the food label will reflect the actual portions most Americans consume. For example, food packages and beverages that can typically be consumed in one sitting, like a 20 oz bottle of soda, will reflect only one serving. Also, “Amount per Serving” will now be listed by the actual serving size, such as “amount per 1 cup.”
- Format Changes – The calorie and serving size section will now be larger and bolder to emphasize the amount of calories that are actually in the item. Additionally, the percent daily value will be shifted to the left to help consumers understand the nutrient content of the item compared to the estimated daily needs.
- Added Sugars – A new “added sugars” section will be included to help consumers identify which sugars are not naturally found in food items.
- Fat – “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required, but “Calories from Fat” will be removed from the food label because it does not distinguish between healthy and unhealthy fats.
- Potassium and Vitamin D – The new food label will now be required to list the amounts of potassium and vitamin D in the food or beverage item because these have become nutrients of concern in the U.S.
- Vitamin C and Vitamin A – These vitamins will no longer be mandatory due to lack of concern for deficiencies (they may still be listed voluntarily).
- Calcium and Iron – These nutrients will continue to be required on the food label because they are still of concern for the general population.
Below is a comparison of the current Nutrition Facts label and the proposed food label.
The new Nutrition Facts label is still under review by the FDA, so an official launch date is unknown at this time. Once the changes are effective, manufacturers will have two years to comply with any of the final requirements.