The New FDA Labeling Rules are Here
Posted on May 23, 2016 by Nili
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.
EDIT (June 15, 2017): The FDA has announced plans to extend the compliance date for the new nutrition labeling rules. They have yet to decide on the new compliance dates, so for now this is an indefinite extension.
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). These will be revised as the FDA publishes new compliance dates.
EDIT (August 10, 2016): We've set up the new formats and they're now available to everyone!
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 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.
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