Positive Changes to Food Nutrition Label

Karly JohnsonBy Karly Johnson

Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program Coordinator
University of Wisconsin-Extension Oneida & Langlade Counties
Phone: 715-627-6236     Email: karly.johnson@ces.uwex.edu

On May 20th, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration finalized the new Nutrition Facts Label for packaged foods. The label will still have its traditional look but important updates will be made to give consumers access to the information they need to make decisions about the foods they eat. Updates will be done to the design of the label, information about nutrition science, and serving sizes. Manufactures have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the following nutrition facts label changes:
Label design
The new Nutrition Facts Label may be keeping its traditional look but the font size of “calories”, “servings per container”, and “serving size” information will increase and the number of calories will be bold making them more noticeable to consumers. Manufacturers must also declare the actual amount and percent daily value of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, but actual amounts of other vitamins and minerals can be included on a voluntary basis. The Label will have a new footnote that will better explain what percent Daily Value means. It will read: “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”
Information about nutrition science
Current scientific data and the 2015-2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that it is difficult for an individual to meet nutrient requirements if they consume more than 10% of their total daily calories from added sugars. As a result the new label will include “added sugars” in grams and as a percent Daily Value. Vitamins and minerals that are required on the nutrition facts label will also be changing. The label must now include vitamin D and potassium. Calcium and iron will continue to be required, but vitamins A and C are no longer required, however, manufacturers can include them on a voluntary basis. “Total fat”, “saturated fat”, and “Trans Fat” will remain on the label but “calories from fat” will be removed due to scientific evidence that the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat. Daily values for sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are being refigured and updated as well, due to newer scientific evidence from the Institute of Medicine and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report.
Serving Sizes
Over the years that amount that people eat and drink has increased. Previous serving size requirements for the nutrition facts label were published in 1993, and by law serving sizes must be based on the amounts of foods and beverages people are actually eating. For example manufactures previously used 8 ounces for a serving size of soda; the new reference for a serving size of soda will be 12 ounces.
Often package size will affect the amount that people eat and the new Nutrition Facts Label is taking this into consideration. If a food item is between one and two serving’s people typically consume the whole thing, so now the Nutrition Facts Label is requiring these products be labeled as one serving (examples: 20 oz bottle of soda or a 15 oz can of soup will now be labeled as 1 serving). Certain products that could be consumed in one or multiple sittings will have to have a “dual column”. The dual column will provide consumers with the amount of calories and nutrients for both “per serving” and “per package/per unit”.
Source: Food and Drug Administration
Please see image below for an example of the updated Nutrition facts label.

Old and New Label

Nutrition Label

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