FDA Updates Nutrition Labels
After a two-year review period, the US Food and Drug Administration formally adopted changes to the Nutrition Facts panels that appear on some 800,000 food products. The updated labels will be required on products by July 26, 2018, except for small producers who will get an extra year to comply. Despite objections from some in the food industry, the update includes a separate line for "added sugars." Most of the modifications reflect current nutrition challenges the American public faces since the labels were introduced 20 years ago. Among the key changes:
- Serving sizes will be revamped to more accurately reflect what people typically eat. For some consumer products containing multiple servings, two columns will show nutrition data per serving and per package.
- Calories appear in a larger type size.
- Following current science that says not all fats should be avoided, with unsaturated fats now seen as healthy replacements for saturated fats, the "Calories from Fat" line will be deleted.
- "Includes [amount] Added Sugars" will appear below the line for total sugars, along with a Daily Value (DV) percentage based on a maximum 50 grams for a 2,000-calorie daily diet. Although all sugars affect the body similarly, added sugars like those in sodas don’t come with beneficial nutrients as the natural sugars in fruit do.
- Daily Values will be updated to reflect recommendations in the latest Daily Reference Intakes: dietary fiber, from 25 grams to 28; sodium, from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300; vitamin D, from 10 micrograms (400 IU) to 20 micrograms (800 IU).
- Data for vitamin D and potassium - nutrients the FDA noted "some people are not getting enough of" - will be mandatory and include actual amounts as well as DV percentages.
- Data on vitamin A and vitamin C, which most Americans get plenty of, will now be optional. Vitamin D and iron will take their place in the "nutrients of concern" part of the label.