According to the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Nutrition Facts panel, seen on the packaging of most food and beverage, needs to be updated. It is twenty years old, and showing its age. The FDA is not interested in just a few refinements. It is proposing numerous changes to the venerable nutrition guide.
Please look at the picture to the right to see a side by side comparison of the current and proposed Nutrition Facts panels.
This article will discuss major revisions that the FDA is proposing, and how they may affect the way foods are formulated and packaged.
Major revisions Proposed Nutrition Facts Label At-A-Glance
The FDA released the Nutrition Labeling proposals at the end of
February. The Agency is currently accepting comments about the proposed changes. After reviewing the comments, the Agency will prepare final regulations. Food companies will be given approximately two years to make their labels compliant with the new regulations.
Major Nutrition Facts Label Changes You Need to Be Aware Of
Two of the proposed changes are really obvious.
One is the very LARGE FONT increase that state the calorie content of a serving of a food or beverage. The dramatic increase in emphasis is one way the federal government is trying to reverse two decades of weight gain by the American public.
The other big change, highlighting "servings per container", is meant to overcome this lack of awareness.
Wait… Other Nutrition Facts Label Changes You Need to Be Aware Of
There is a laundry list, the Highlights of the Proposed Rules, although you ‘d better have a lot time on your hands to read them. So here are the changes I believe you should be aware of right now:
- No more calories from fat information.
- "Added Sugars" is added as a new nutrient listing. Notice there is no %Daily Values information.
- Vitamins A and C are delisted.
- In their place are two new required listings − Vitamin D and Potassium.
- The current footnote, with nutrient levels for a 2000 C and 2500 C diet, is omitted. It may be replaced by a revised footnote.
Beyond the Visible Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label
I outlined the some of the visible changes above. Many others are not as apparent.
- Both Nutrition Facts panel illustrations have calcium contributing 20% of the Daily Value. In the proposed Nutrition Facts illustration the Calcium content is 260mg. The content is not stated in the current Nutrition Facts format.
- The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the 100% Daily Value, which may be regarded as the amount of a nutrient required to satisfy the needs of about 97% of the American public, four years and older. Currently the 100% Daily Value for Calcium is 1000mg, and 20% of the Daily Value is 200mg. The FDA wants to raise the 100% DV to 1300mg. For that reason 260mg of Calcium, which is 20% of 1300mg, is shown in the proposed Nutrition Facts panel.
- Regulations provide guidance for making nutrient content claims like "good source" of calcium and "excellent source" of calcium.
- 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.
What's considered a single serving has changed in the decades since the original nutrition label was created. So now serving sizes will be more realistic to reflect how much people typically eat at one time. Click to enlarge the serving size info-graphic