The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new public health and scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The proposed label would also update out-of-date serving size requirements to better align with how much people really eat, and it features a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes. Below is an comparison of the current Nutrition Facts label (on the left) and the proposed look of the new label (on the right).
Changes to the label being proposed include:
- Requiring information about food products “added sugars.” This proposed change is based on expert recommendations—including those from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans—that Americans should reduce their intake of calories from added sugar.
- Updating reference amounts, which are used by manufacturers to determine serving sizes, so they reflect the amounts people currently eat and drink. Current data show that the consumption of certain food products has changed over the last 20 years.
- Presenting calorie and nutrition information for the whole package, in addition to per serving, on certain products that contain more than one serving size but that could be consumed in one sitting or in multiple sittings.
- Requiring the declaration of potassium and vitamin D on the label, if present, because some segments of the U.S. population are not consuming adequate amounts, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health and potassium in beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Calcium and iron would continue to be required on the label if present, but listing vitamins A and C would now be voluntary.
- Revising the daily values for a variety of nutrients such as calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D. Daily values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label, which helps consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.
- Refreshing the format to emphasize certain elements, such as calories, serving sizes, and Percent Daily Value, that are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease.
The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports, and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The FDA also considered extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders.
The proposed changes would affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry, and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS).
The FDA also is proposing some corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements, including proposed changes to the Daily Values and the units of measure.
The two proposed rules are available for public comment for 90 days. Once the rules are finalized, the FDA is proposing that manufacturers would have two years to comply with any final requirements.
More information on changes
Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (pdf)
Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One-Eating Occasion, et. al. (pdf)