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NATIONAL REPORT — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods, the first major overhaul of the label since 1993. The updated nutritional information is designed to help people make informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed their families.
“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. “The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices — one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.”
Among the key changes coming to the label:
- An updated design to highlight “calories” and “servings,” two important elements in making informed food choices.
- Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food people currently eat.
- Declaration of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for “added sugars” to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product.
- “Dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings. Examples include a pint of ice cream or a 3-ounce bag of chips.
- For packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20-ounce soda, the calories and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting.
- Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D, consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed.
- Declaration of Vitamin D and potassium that will include the actual gram amount, in addition to the %DV. These are nutrients some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. The %DV for calcium and iron will continue to be required, along with the actual gram amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required because deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but these nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis.
- “Calories from Fat” will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be required.
- An abbreviated footnote to better explain %DV.
Most food manufacturers will be required to use the new label by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.
The FDA plans to conduct outreach and education efforts around the new requirements.