FDA Changes Coming to Nutrition Facts Label
Posted Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 at 3:30 pm
There’s been a lot of news about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) upcoming changes to the Nutrition Facts label – but what does it mean? Whether you’re a buyer or reader of food labels, it would be beneficial to familiarize yourself with these anticipated updates so you can better understand the upcoming label format. In this article, we will delve into the changes that are expected to happen with nutrition labels so you can start preparing your organization’s label needs for regulation compliance.
Background – Nutrition Facts Label
Over 20 years ago in 1993, the FDA introduced the Nutrition Facts table to standardize how nutritional information was presented on packaged food and beverage products. The Nutrition Facts label was mandated after the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. Before then, nutrition labeling was voluntary and varied from product to product. The United States’ inception of the Nutrition Facts table was the first of its kind and has since been adapted by other countries.
On February 27, the FDA released its proposed updates for the new Nutrition Facts label. Several days later on March 3, the FDA began a 90-day public comment period to review feedback and address concerns – there currently isn’t a timeline for when the changes will be finalized.
FDA’s proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label:
- Calories will become more prominent while ‘calories from fat’ will be eliminated.
- Differentiation of natural and added sugars.
- Serving sizes presented more realistically.
- Adjustments to some daily values, in particular, sodium.
We recommend that you wait until the FDA releases their final requirements before you start making any changes to your Nutrition Facts label.
Why the Updates?
One of the reasons behind the FDA’s latest updates is due to the fact that the Nutrition Facts label has remained largely unchanged since the early 1990s. Although the updates are still being formulated, many health and nutrition organizations consider the changes as a step forward in the right direction for helping consumers make healthful decision.
According to the FDA’s website:
Paula Trumbo, Ph.D., acting director of FDA’s nutrition programs staff explains that updates are being assessed to address such factors as current nutrient recommendations, public health concerns based on recent data on food consumption, and the agency’s desire to make this information as clear and useful as possible.
Americans are paying more attention to food labels now than ever before whether to watch their calorie and sodium intake or to check for allergen ingredients for children. According to the FDA’s Health and Diet Survey conducted in 2002 and 2008 (most recent), the percentage of consumers who reported that they often use the label rose from 44 to 54 percent. The way Americans eat has changed since the Nutrition Facts label was first introduced and the FDA hopes to make food labels more reflective of current nutritional information and eating habits.
“FDA proposes updates to Nutrition Facts label on food packages.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 27 Feb 2014. <http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm387418.htm>.
“Nutrition Facts Label: 20 and Evolving.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 9 Jan. 2013. <http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm334749.htm>.
Edney, Anna. “U.S. Food Labels to Get First Update by FDA in 21 Years.” Bloomberg. 24 Jan. 2014. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-24/u-s-food-labels-to-get-first-update-by-fda-in-21-years.html>.