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FDA Gives Nutrition Labels a Makeover: Easier to Design Your Diet

Deciphering nutrition labels hasn't been easy, but the FDA is now making it easier for consumers.
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Nutrition labels on packaged foods have a new look. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new modern nutrition label. The FDA took a major step to help consumers make better-informed decisions about the foods they eat.

Deciphering nutrition labels hasn't been easy, but the FDA is now making it easier for consumers.

The new modern label now:

  • Includes the amount of "added sugar"
  • Serving Size updated and is a larger bolder type
  • Calories are in a larger type
  • Updated daily values
  • Change in nutrients required-Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium, Iron and Potassium have been added
  • Actual amounts declared
  • New footnote


New Key Updates

The new Nutrition Facts label will include the following.

• An updated design to highlight "calories" and "servings," two important elements in making informed food choices.

• Requirements for serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts of food that people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the last serving size requirements were published in 1993. By law, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat.

• Declaration of grams and a percent daily value (%DV) for "added sugars" to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product. 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 sugars, and this is consistent with the scientific evidence supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

• "Dual column" labels to indicate both "per serving" and "per package" calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings. Examples include a pint of ice cream and a 3-ounce bag of chips. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time.

• For packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20 ounce soda, the calories and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting.

• Updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D, consistent with Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV that manufacturers include on the label.

• Declaration of Vitamin D and potassium that will include the actual gram amount, in addition to the %DV. These are nutrients that some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. The %DV for calcium and iron will continue to be required, along with the actual gram amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required because deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, but these nutrients can be included on a voluntary basis.

• "Calories from Fat" will be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount. "Total Fat," "Saturated Fat," and "Trans Fat" will continue to be required.

• An abbreviated footnote to better explain the %DV.

(Source: FDA Press Release)

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