FDA Finalizes New Nutrition Facts Panel

June 5, 2016
New label includes "added sugars," enlarges serving sizes but removes “calories from fat.”

The FDA in late May finalized the new Nutrition Facts panel. The new one, which has been in the works for about a year, includes "added sugars," enlarges serving sizes but removes “calories from fat.”

The agency says the new label "reflects new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices."

Food processors will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018. However, companies with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

The “iconic” look of the existing label remains, but what's changed are:

  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be required. "Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar, and this is consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans."
  • Vitamin D and potassium will be required on the label. Calcium and iron will continue to be required. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required but can be included on a voluntary basis.
  • While continuing to require “total fat,” “saturated fat,” and “trans fat” on the label, “calories from fat” is being removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
  • Daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated based on newer scientific evidence from the Institute of Medicine and other reports such as the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.
  • The type size will be enlarged and bolded for “calories,” “servings per container” and “serving size.”

Serving sizes are being increased to recognize that people are consuming more of most foods than previously thought and with recognition that many packages (such as soda and potato chips) slightly larger than a suggested serving size are being consumed in one occasion.

"How much people eat and drink has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993," the agency wrote. "For example, the reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was previously ½ cup but is changing to ? cup. The reference amount used to set a serving of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.

"Package size affects what people eat. So for packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20-oz. soda or a 15-oz. can of soup, the calories and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting."

For certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be consumed in either one sitting or multiple sittings, manufacturers will have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the amount of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package” basis. Examples would be a 24-oz. bottle of soda or a pint of ice cream.

The new requirements also apply to imported food.

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