The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced revisions to the Nutrition Facts label designed to emphasize “the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.” In addition to highlighting calories, servings per container and serving-size declarations through a combination of increased type size and boldface, the new labels will (i) require “added sugars” in grams and as a percent daily value, (ii) require Vitamin D and potassium values, and (iii) make Vitamins A and C optional.
Citing scientific research, FDA has updated several daily values and eliminated “Calories from Fat,” but increased mandatory serving sizes to better reflect food consumption data. Food packages containing one to two servings that are typically consumed in one sitting must list calories and nutritional information for the entire packaged portion. Manufacturers must also use dual-column labels for 24-ounce sodas, ice cream pints and other foods and beverages that may be consumed in one or over multiple sittings.
“By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating,” states FDA, which directs food manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual sales to implement the new labels by July 28, 2018. “How much people eat and drink has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. For example, the reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was previously ½ cup but is changing to ⅔ cup. The reference amount used to set a serving of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.” See FDA Press Release, May 20, 2016.