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FDA Final Rules Mandate Significant Changes to Nutrition Facts Label

On May 20, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized two new rules that mandate significant changes to Nutrition Facts Labels for food and beverages.  FDA’s goals of updating the Nutrition Facts Label include:

  • Making it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices by emphasizing certain nutrition aspects, such as calories and serving sizes.
  • Updating serving sizes to more realistically reflect U.S. food consumption.
  • Reflecting updated scientific information, including the link between diet, chronic diseases, and public health.

Calories

The new Nutrition Facts Label format considerably increases the font size of the word “Calories” and the number of calories.  The number of calories is also bolded. The number of calories from fat is removed from the label.  According to FDA, “research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.”

Serving Sizes

The font size of the words “servings per container” and the serving size declaration also feature an increase.  The serving size declaration is bolded.

Along with emphasizing the serving size on the new Nutrition Facts Label, FDA’s rules create new requirements for determining the serving size of a product.  By law, serving sizes must reflect the amount of food and beverages people truly consume rather than what they should consume.  For example, before the rule, many 20 ounce bottles of soda were labeled as 2 servings despite the fact that the average U.S. consumer drinks an entire 20 ounce bottle at once.  Now, 20 ounce sodas are required to be labeled as one serving.  The same is true for other packages that were previously labeled as two servings but typically consumed in one sitting.  FDA’s new rules update various other serving sizes as well.  For example, the serving size of ice cream increased from ½ cup to 2/3 cup.

FDA’s new rules require certain products that may be consumed in either one or multiple sittings to bear a “dual column” label that identifies calorie information for both “per serving” and “per package/per unit”.

Added Sugars

The new Nutrition Facts Label format differentiates “Added Sugars” from “Total Sugars”.   According to FDA, “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.”

Nutrient Daily Values

FDA’s new rules add vitamin D and potassium to the required list of nutrients, while the inclusion of vitamins A and C were made optional. The rules update daily values for sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D based on new scientific evidence. The new Nutrition Facts Label lists the actual amount of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium in addition to the percent Daily Value.

The new rules also update the percent Daily Value footnote to read “*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.”

FDA’s rules mandate minor changes to Supplements Facts Labels for dietary supplements as well to ensure consistency with Nutrition Facts Labels for food and beverages.

Compliance Dates

Most food manufacturers are required to use the new label by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have an additional year to comply.

It’s prudent for food facilities to begin redesigning their labeling now, as the process of designing, printing, and relabeling can take some time. Relabeling early will allow for a smooth and efficient transition from old to new labeling within the time allotted by FDA.

Registrar Corp’s Labeling and Ingredient Review Specialists can help food facilities update their labels to comply with FDA’s new rules.  Along with updating a facility’s Nutrition Facts Label, Registrar Corp will review all aspects of a food’s labeling, including ensuring any claims made are within FDA’s boundaries to do so. For more information, contact +1-757-224-0177 or chat with a Regulatory Advisor 24-hours a day at www.registrarcorp.com/livehelp.





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