FDA announces study on format of the Nutrition Facts label

November 20, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a Federal Register notice announcing an experimental study of Nutrition Facts label formats. Comments on the study are due by Jan. 19, 2010.

In recent years, the FDA has considered several possible changes to the format of the Nutrition Facts label. In 2005, in response to recommendations of its Obesity Working Group, the FDA published two advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRMs) requesting comments on possible changes to the Nutrition Facts label intended to address the problem of obesity: (1) an ANPRM regarding changes to give greater emphasis on calories (e.g., by increasing the font size of calorie information, providing a percent daily value for calories, eliminating the “calories from fat” declaration); and (2) an ANPRM regarding changes to give greater emphasis to the serving size declaration (e.g., by increasing the font size of the “serving size” and/or “servings per container” declarations). In 2007, the FDA published an ANPRM requesting comments on whether to require that certain nutrients be added or removed from the Nutrition Facts label. In addition, the FDA has conducted qualitative consumer research on possible changes to the format of the Nutrition Facts label.

The FDA now plans to conduct quantitative research regarding consumer reactions to potential options for modifying the Nutrition Facts label format. The web-based study will present various changes to the Nutrition Facts format and will focus on the following types of consumer reactions: (1) judgments about a food product’s nutritional attributes and overall healthfulness, and (2) the ability to use the Nutrition Facts label to calculate calories and estimate serving sizes needed to meet dietary objectives. The study results will be used to help the FDA understand whether modifications to the Nutrition Facts label format can help consumers make informed dietary choices.

Federal Register notice (pdf)