Have you spotted the new Nutrition Facts label lately? It has begun to show up on the shelves on some products. In May 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules and set the compliance date for July 26, 2018, with an additional year to comply for manufacturers with annual food sales of less than $10 million. After those rules were finalized, industry and consumer groups provided the FDA with feedback regarding the compliance dates. Just before the effective date, on June 13, 2017, the FDA announced its intention to extend the compliance date for the Nutrition Facts Label final rules.
There are some really good, consumer friendly updates to the Nutrition Facts Label.
- My most favorite update is the “serving sizes” are based on what people actually eat not what the manufacturer would like to state to make a product seem better for you.
For example, the reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was previously 1/2 cup but is changing to 2/3 cup.The reference amount used to set a serving of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces. Did we even have any 8 oz. cans or bottles on the shelf before?
- Next favorite is the “added sugars” clearly listed on the label. Added sugars are required to be listed in grams and percent Daily Value. So when you buy milk (any fat content level) it should say 0 grams added sugar. The natural milk sugar will be listed in Total Carbohydrates and Total Sugars only. This will help consumers know if the sugars in the foods are naturally occurring or not. Now, keep in mind that about 4 grams is 1 teaspoon of sugar. On this note, Panera Bread Co. has made it event simpler by adding teaspoons of sugar on their label instead of just grams. You don’t have to do the math on demand.
- Type of fat and total amount of fat is emphasized on the new label. While continuing to require “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” on the label, “Calories from Fat” is being removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
- Some key nutrients are now “required” to be listed in actual amount and percent of Daily Value. This means Vitamin D and potassium are now required in addition to the older requirement of Calcium and Iron.
- For more information on other details go to this FDA link.