Evidence Update: New Food Labels for 2018
On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced that there will be a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. This new label will reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The intent of the new label is to make it easier for consumers to make better-informed food choices. The new label is set to launch January 2018, but you may have already seen it on some of your favorite foods. Compliance date is set for July 26, 2018, with an additional year to comply for manufacturers with annual food sales of less than $10 million.
The significant changes include:
- Serving size and serving per container:
- The number of “servings per container” and the “serving size” have changed. They now reflect what people actually eat and drink rather than what is recommended. For instance, a recommended serving size of ice cream is ½ cup, but, on the new label serving sizes with be more realistic and will reflect what people typically eat at one serving which is 2/3 cup.
- Calories: Calorie listed will be in a larger and bolder type.
- Calories from Fat: Calories from fat will no longer be listed. Research shows the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.
- Added sugar: Finally added sugars will be required on all food labels. “Added Sugars” in the form of grams and as a percent Daily Value (%DV) is now required on the label. “Added Sugars” include sugars that have been added during the processing or packaging of a food. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar.
- Potassium and Vitamin D: The lists of nutrients that are required or permitted on the label have been updated. Vitamin D and potassium are now required on the label because Americans don’t always get the recommended amounts. No longer will Vitamins A and C be listed on the label since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare today. The actual amount (in milligrams or micrograms) in addition to the %DV must be listed for vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. The daily values for nutrients have also been updated based on newer scientific evidence. The daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV.
- Footnote: The footnote at the bottom of the label has changed and will better explain the meaning of %DV. The %DV is listed to help you understand the nutrition information in the context of a total days’ worth of eating.
For more details, check out the FDA Information: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#dates