“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D. “The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices – one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.” – FDA
Late last month, on May 20, 2016, the Food, Nutrition & Drug Administration (FDA) made the final touches on the brand new nutrition label to showcase the “benefits” of all packaged foods. The old label, the FDA asserts, had been in service for over twenty years and their decision for a change was due to the outdated state the label was in. The newly, refurbished label now reflects updated scientific information.
The reason behind this reinvention was to offer consumers up-to-date information so that they can have the edge in making nutritional decisions with better information than before. The new label also offers additional info, like added sugars and nutrition per package, that conveniently helps the customer make the link between the specific item, their diet and how much food they actually are eating.
“Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat.” – FDA
These changes can also help people who are dealing with chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes, because there is more detail in terms of sugar and sodium content.
General overview of the new nutrition facts label
The FDA has gone for a fresh new design. Generally, the label’s iconic look has not been completely altered, but it has been modified such that it holds newer information about the product for the sake of greater accountability. As you see, the type size for various words like calories, serving size, etc. have been changed in the new design so that these values are highlighted.
In addition, the FDA has made sure that the actual declaration of the various gram amounts of vitamins and other minerals is clear. Accordingly, the footnote to the label has had a tweak to explicitly explain what the % value of every nutrient to a daily diet actually means in terms of weight.
For the sake of meeting your nutrient needs but also avoiding empty calories, added sugars have been included on the label in grams and in % for the daily value evaluation. For nutrients, such as dietary fiber, sodium and vitamin D, their nutrition value has been duly updated in accordance with scientific evidence from institutes like the Institute of Medicine and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines advisory Committee Report.
One of the goals was to reflect the serving sizes than today’s consumer actually eats. Since 1993, this serving size has gradually changed and due to this change, the labeling requirement has had a major change also. Since people usually eat the package size in only one sitting, the calorie and other nutrients will be labeled so as to reflect that of a single serving. However, for food packages that are larger than a single serving, the labeling will take the form of dual columns.
Accordingly, those dual columns will showcase the calorie and nutrient amounts in terms of both a single serving or as per the entire package. Some examples of the products that will bear this format of dual columns include a pint of ice cream and a 24-ounce bottle of soda. Having such information will conveniently guide consumers through the calorie and additional nutrient values, whether eating or drinking the whole package or a serving at a time.
Conclusion and compliance date
The compliance date is projected to be 10/26/2018 for those manufacturers with over $10 million in yearly food sales. However, those with less the target sales will have an additional year to comply. Ultimately, this effort to remake the nutrition facts label shows a lot of promise and should go a long way in assisting consumers in making better decisions regarding their nutrition.
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