Thursday, February 27, 2014

FDA Proposes Overhaul of Food Nutrition Labels To Promote Better Health

New FDA Proposal for Food Nutrition Label Overhaul Will Reflect Actual Portion Sizes and Better Nutritional Information

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to overhaul the current food labeling system for the first time in 20 years. The new proposal would better reflect real-world portion sizes and contain additional nutritional information. Jessica Leighton, Ph.D., senior nutrition science and policy advisor in FDA's Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, and Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., a health scientist at FDA, explain what you can expect to see if the proposed changes are enacted.

  • There will be greater emphasis—with larger and bolder type—on calories.
  • For the first time, "Added Sugars" would be included on the label.
  • Calories from fat would no longer be listed
  • The number of servings per package would also be more prominent.
  • FDA proposes updating serving size requirements.
  • FDA would update Daily Values for various nutrients. 
  • The amounts of potassium and Vitamin D would be required on the label.

FDA Food Labels Compared

The primary goal of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label is not to tell people what they should be eating, but to expand and highlight the information they most need when making food choices. "It's all about providing information that people can use to make their own choices." Kavanaugh says.

The FDA is proposing the changes as two rules, one to update the nutrition information based on nutrition science and the label design to help highlight important information. The second to make changes to serving size requirements and labeling for certain package sizes. The proposed rules are  published in the Federal Register for a 90-day comment period. Consumers and industry are invited to read and comment on them at the FDA's official docket at www.regulations.gov. Once made final, it is expected that the food industry would have two years to comply after publication of any final rules governing the Nutrition Facts label.

(This story via FDA.gov)

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