The New FDA Labeling Rules are Here

Posted on May 23, 2016 by

We've been waiting, and now it's official: The FDA has revamped nutrition labels. If you're wondering about the details of what's involved and when and how it affects you, here's the scoop.

And of course we have them ready for you on ReciPal :)

The Timeline

EDIT (May 4, 2018): The FDA has finalized extending the compliance date for the new nutrition labeling rules until January 2020 or January 2021, depending on the business size.

EDIT (October 3, 2017): The FDA has proposed extend the compliance date for the new nutrition labeling rules until January 2020 or January 2021, depending on the business size.

Initially, the rules were such that businesses have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the new FDA labeling rules. But manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales get an extra year to comply (until July 26, 2019). With the current proposal (as of September 29, 2017), smaller manufacturers will have until January 1, 2021 to comply, while larger businesses will have until January 1, 2020.

EDIT (August 10, 2016): We've set up the new formats and they're now available to everyone! You can change to the new format under the Label Type dropdown menu on the Label page of any recipe - any of the "New" formats.

EDIT (January 2020): The "New Vertical" format is now the default format for new recipes and labels. You can still of course change your format to the other new FDA formats, Canadian formats, or the older FDA formats using the Label Type dropdown menu.

Change to New FDA Nutrition Label Format on ReciPal

Here's how you change to the new label format. Pick any of the "New" formats in the dropdown.

New Format Requirements

  • The general feel of the label will stay the same, but the biggest changes are the focus on calories and serving size, with the size of the type for “Calories,” “Servings per container,” and “Serving size” increased dramatically. The calories and the serving size will also be in bold type face.
  • Required vitamins and minerals will have to show the actual amount (in mg) in addition to the percent Daily Value. For optional nutrients, showing the gram amounts is voluntary.
  • There's a new footnote. (In case you're wondering, it says: “*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.”)
  • For certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be eaten in one sitting (between 2 and 3 servings in a package), the label will have to show two columns, one with the information “per serving” and the other with it “per package." The FDA gives the examples of a 24-ounce bottle of soda or a pint of ice cream. The idea is that people can see what they'll be drinking or eating if they finish the entire package at one time.

New and Old FDA Nutrition Label

Out with the old and in with the new. The FDA's side by side comparison.

New Content Requirements

  • The biggest addition to the label is “Added sugars,” shown in grams and as a percent Daily Value, will have to be broken out and shown as a separate line under carbohydrates.
  • While iron and calcium will still be required, Vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory nutrients. They're being replaced by Vitamin D and Potassium.
  • “Calories from Fat” will no longer be shown as it's no longer considered useful information.
  • Serving sizes and daily values are being adjusted to reflect what people actually eat now and updated science and research. How much and what people eat and drink has changed since 1993, so there are updated serving size requirements and daily values. Some are going up, and some are going down. For example, the reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was ½ cup, but it's changing to ⅔ cup. The reference amount for soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces. But the reference amount for yogurt is changing from 8 ounces to 6 ounces.
  • Packages that contain between one and two servings, like a 20-ounce soda or a 15-ounce can of soup, will now have to be labeled as one serving and show all the caloric and nutrient information as a single serving since people typically finish them in one sitting.

We've got you covered

We're already set up the new formats and made them available for all users. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments.

About Lev Berlin

Lev Berlin ReciPal SlantShack Author Bio

Lev Berlin is the founder & CEO of ReciPal. Having previously been a founder of SlantShack Jerky, he needed nutrition labels and simple tools to start and run the business. He's read the FDA food labeling code countless times in the process of creating ReciPal and helping small food businesses with their labels. He's reviewed and created thousands of food labels, and been a mentor and guest speaker at food incubators, food business courses, and regulatory conferences, like Brooklyn Foodworks and ICE.

After graduating from Princeton with an engineering degree, Lev was a management consultant, then founder or early employee at half a dozen startups. He loves nothing more than helping other small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals.

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