I’ve always maintained it takes a PhD in nutrition to figure out the nutrition numbers on the Food Facts Label. Maybe that is because it has taken me years (let’s say 26…) to know what each number means and what reference values we are talking about.
According to a 2008 FDA survey of 2500 people, About 54% of shoppers check out the nutrition label when buying a product for the first time.
The way that nutritional information is displayed for conventional foods and dietary supplement is changing. Why? The FDA wants to include supplements in labeling ( that is good!) as well as help the consumer to maintain healthy practices through information they can decipher from the Food Facts Label.
Most apparent changes are:
- The calories on the food label will be bigger and bolder.
- Serving sizes will get more realistic- based on average consumption.
- We will see Vitamin D and Potassium highlighted with Iron and Calcium. Vitamin A and C will become optional.
- Added sugars will be included. (Waiting to see, how we will differentiate added sugars from natural sugar in foods?)
- Recommendations of Sodium levels will not exceed 2300 mg/day. That will become the “upper tolerable level” as seen in the % Daily Value for Sodium (on the left).
- Percentage of calories from fat will disappear! Thank goodness- we know it’s more about the type of fat people are eating these days- heart healthy versus trans and saturated fats. Still included will be Total Fat and how it is broken down into Trans and Saturated Fat.
So our job now as Registered Dietitian- Nutritionists is to educate the public on the new Food Label. Right now there is a 90 day comment period through the FDA for feedback on this new initiative and then manufacturers will be given 2 years to comply to the new rules. Got’ ta run and comment…
For more information:
Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels
Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One-Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments