Beyond the Visible Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label
- A serving that is a "good source" contains 10% to 19% of the Daily Value of a nutrient. A serving that is an "excellent source" contains 20% of the Daily Value or higher.
- When the 100% Daily Value of a nutrient is increased a nutrient content claim for the nutrient may no longer be valid. If a product is fortified, it may be necessary to increase the level of fortification to maintain the same % Daily Value contribution.
- The 100% Daily Values for a large number of vitamins and minerals are to be changed. Most notably, Potassium will change from 3500mg to 4700mg, Vitamin D will double from 10mcg to 20mcg, and Vitamin B12 will see a big drop from 6.0mcg to 2.4mcg. Fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereal is a major source of Vitamin B12. The level of fortification will likely be lowered when the new 100%DV takes effect.
Serving Size Drive Many Nutrition Facts Label Changes
There are other "invisible" changes that will affect the Nutrition Facts values. All the nutrient amounts are based on serving size.
The federal government dictates these sizes so consumers can make comparisons among multiple sources of similar product. That is why all dairies provide nutrition information for 1 cup of milk, why pudding manufacturers provide nutrition information for 1/2 cup of pudding, and why pasta manufacturers use 2 oz - dry as the basis for their nutrition labeling.
The FDA's proposals include changing the serving size for some foods and beverages.
Two food categories are targeted for very large increases. Ice cream and other frozen desserts that are scooped will have their serving size doubled, from 1/2 cup to 1 cup! This means that all of the accompanying nutrition values will be doubled. For example, if a serving now has 180 Calories, it will have 360 Calories.
The other category is baked goods like muffins and bagels. When serving sizes were first determined muffins typically weighed about 55g. Over the years they grew and grew. Now they weigh about twice as much. So the FDA is proposing that the serving size reflect the new reality and be set at 110g, instead of 55g.
Multi Serving Packages Will Have Two Panels
The FDA is also proposing that food and beverage containers that are filled with one to four servings have dual Nutrition Facts panels. Please see the illustration to the right.
- The first will state the level of nutrients in one serving
- The second will state the level of nutrients for the entire contents of the container
This change addresses one of the most voiced complaints about current nutrition labeling. Often what looks like one serving, and is consumed as one serving, is actually two or more servings. The nutrition information is only for one serving, and the consumer does not realize he/she is consuming a multiple of the nutrient amounts that are listed.
Nutriitional Facts Proposed Changes Summary
The FDA is to be commended for proposing all of its desired revisions at the same time. Revising nutrition labels is a costly proposition for food companies. It is much more desirable to make a large number of changes at one time than to make a few changes every three or four years.
Nutrition Facts first appeared on packaged foods in the early 1990's. Until the current proposals there has only been one modification to the Nutrition Facts panel. As of January 1, 2006 manufacturers were required to add a line for Trans Fat.
This article highlights some of the important proposed changes in nutrition labeling, and touches on how they may affect ways that foods are formulated and marketed. If you want more details to satsify your curiosity OR more importantly, if you are in the midst of designing new food and beverage packaging you and your packaging designer need to read these.
The FDA Proposed Changes in a Pair of Documents.
- Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels, is about changes in the format of the Nutrition Facts panel, and the changes in the %Daily Value for many of the nutrients.
- Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One-Eating Occasion, discusses proposed changes in serving size and servings per container, as well as the need for a dual Nutrition Panel format.
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