The Nutrition Facts panel on most packaged food labels will be getting a whole new look. The FDA has announced new food labeling guidelines that reflect breakthroughs in nutrition research and aim to help consumers make informed food choices. For most food manufacturers, the changes will have to be made by July 26, 2018; however, manufacturers with annual food sales under $10 million will have an extra year to comply. Here are some of the key updates:
- Serving size revamp. Serving sizes will be updated to reflect the amount of food people actually eat, which has changed since the last serving size revision in 1993. Foods that are typically consumed in one sitting, such as a 20 ounce soda, will be required to be labeled as one serving.
- "Per package" labeling. Products containing multiple servings will include calorie and nutrition information for both “per serving” and “per package” to ensure people understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they consume the entire package at one time.
- Calorie redesign. The calorie count will be listed in type that is much larger than the rest of the label elements.
- Adding “added sugars.” In addition to natural sugars (such as those naturally present in fruits and dairy), total grams and the percent daily value (%DV) of added sugars will also be listed to indicate how much sugar was added during processing. This is crucial for consumers, as research shows that getting more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars makes it difficult to meet daily nutritional needs.
- Changing daily values. Daily values will be updated for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D to mirror current daily intake recommendations from the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Essential vitamins information. In addition to listing the %DV, total grams of vitamin D and potassium will be included to aid those at risk for deficiencies. Since deficiencies in vitamins A and C are rare, they will no longer be required to be listed.
- Update to fat labeling. “Calories from Fat” will be removed as research now shows that the type of fat is more important that the amount of fat. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will still be required.