The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled in August 2014 a proposal to fundamentally change the nutrition label on the back of any packaged food product currently sold in the USA. In particular, the FDA calls for
More Nutrition Information
- Require information about “added sugars.”
- Update daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber
and Vitamin D.
- Declare the amount of potassium and Vitamin D
- Remove “Calories from Fat” (because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount).
Updated Serving Size Requirements
- Change the serving size and corresponding nutrition information to reflect how people eat and drink today
- Require that packaged foods, including drinks, that are typically eaten in one sitting be labeled as a single serving and that calorie and nutrient information be declared for the entire package.
- Provide “dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calories and nutrient information for packages that are larger and could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings
- Make calories and serving sizes more prominent
- Shift the Percent Daily Value to the left of the label, so it would come first
- Change the footnote to more clearly explain the meaning of the Percent Daily Value.
Here are examples of labels that the FDA would like to mandate within the next two to three years:
The FDA is currently asking for comments from the public and the food industry. As can be expected, many food industry associations have pushed back due on the proposal, citing high costs and added complexity.
If and when the label changes will become law is yet to be determined. However, food companies are well advised to plan for label changes and proactively integrate some of the ideas into labels of new products or re-launches.