The New Nutrition Label: Dual-Column Requirement For 2-3 Servings
As part of the new nutrition label rules, the FDA is requiring a new label format for containers that have between 2 and 3 servings in them. They've also updated the rules about single-serving containers. Here's what you need to know.
The new requirement is that if your container has between 2 and 3 servings, your label must show nutritional values for a serving as well as for the entire container. Each of the two columns has to show quantitative amounts (grams, milligrams) and the percent of the recommended daily value.
Unless you fit one of the exemptions, the rule applies to any type of container, including "multi-packs of discrete units."
If you have a box with two 16-ounce bottles of soda in it, for example, then the box needs dual-column labeling because it's considered a multi-pack that has 2-3 servings of soda (a serving is 12 ounces under the new rules). But if you bundle the same two bottles together with clear plastic and each bottle has a visible nutrition panel, that's not a multi-pack under this rule, and you don't need a dual-column label on the wrapper.
Why The Change?
In the words of the FDA, "the purpose of dual-column labeling is to provide nutrition information for multiple ways in which people are likely to consume a product." In our words, with smaller containers we might be just as likely to eat the whole thing at once as to have what counts as one serving (or to share the goodness with friends).
So we ought to know what we're actually eating if we finish off that 2-ounce bag of chips or the whole pint of ice cream (yes, a serving of ice cream is going up to 2/3 cup from 1/2 cup, so that pint is now 3 servings instead of 4 and has to show the information for the whole container).
What It Looks Like In ReciPal
We want to make this change easy for you. ReciPal will automatically check the "servings per container" field and grab the right format for you. If your product has between 2 and 3 servings per package, you'll see the dual-column format as the default option for both the vertical and the tabular labels.
An Update to Single-Serving Containers Too
The new rule also simplifies the definition of a single-serving container. Any container that has less than 200% of the reference amount (RACC) for a serving of that product is now a single serving.
There used to be an option to show either 1 serving or "about 2 servings" if the RACC for your product was 100 g or more and your container held between 150% and 200% of that RACC. But that option's gone, and now it's clear: If it's less than 2 servings, it's 1!
How the Math Works
We have gotten some questions about the numbers not looking like they add up right on a dual column label. For instance, the calories from 2 servings are sometimes listed as more than double the calories from a single serving. This ins't a math error but a result of the FDA's rounding rules. You can learn more details from our YouTube Channel and embedded below:
Unsure what this all means for your food business or how to interpret it? Chat us or leave a comment below.