Q. Why don’t I see vitamin A on my package of ready-to-steam frozen sweet potatoes?
A.† Leah Rainville, a dietetic intern at Tufts Medical Center, answers: “Don’t worry, your sweet potatoes are still a great source of Vitamin A! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food companies to list vitamin D, potassium, iron, and calcium on the Nutrition Facts label. Food companies can voluntarily list additional nutrients, but they are not required to, so the fact that you don’t see vitamin A listed doesn’t mean it isn’t in the food.
“You may recall seeing vitamin A listed on Nutrition Facts labels in the past. The old Nutrition Facts label, created in 1990, required listing vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium. At that time, many American’s diets were low in these nutrients. In 2016, the FDA announced an updated Nutrition Facts label to reflect new scientific findings and the new dietary needs of the population. Recent nationwide food surveys show that vitamin A and vitamin C are no longer nutrients of public health concern for Americans. Now, Americans may not be consuming enough vitamin D or potassium, which have replaced vitamin A and vitamin C on the new Nutrition Facts label. You may still see the old Nutrition Facts label at the grocery store. Large food companies must comply with the updated Nutrition Facts label requirements by January 2020, while smaller food companies have until January 2021.”