What You Need to Know About the New and Improved Food Nutrition Labels

Every time you buy something from the grocery store there is a conveniently placed label somewhere on the package. This label contains all the calories, sugars, fats and other essential ingredients that make up that food. The FDA requires this handy label so consumers are aware of what they are ingesting due to obvious ethical complications that could arise if they weren’t available to the public.

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In 2014, the FDA proposed to change these labels to reflect the growing changes in the population’s consumption of various foods. With growing rates of diabetes and obesity, the old labels couldn’t effectively keep up with America’s newfound hunger for packaged food products. In an effort to keep up with these new standards the FDA is requiring all major food companies that make at least 10 million dollars in annual sales to adopt this new labeling system indefinitely. These regulations were proposed almost four years ago but are extremely relevant now because as of Jan. 1, 2020 the FDA will be officially implementing these new changes into all food products meeting the requirements above. That means the general public will get to witness these changes for themselves through the products they buy.

Courtesy: Today

These changes include…

Larger and Bolded Font

The calorie component on the new label will feature an updated bold text and a significant upgrade in font size in an effort to make the calories stand out more. The serving sizes on the container will also have these features, as well.  

New Footnote

The updated footnote at the bottom of the label will better clarify what the % Daily Value (DV) means in terms of a 2,000-calorie diet.

Specifying Sugars

The sugars will now be broken down into subgroups including a column for added and total sugars, so people get a more accurate feel for the final amount of sugars they are ingesting.

Changing What Vitamins are Required

The label will now include vitamin D and potassium and will get rid of vitamin A and vitamin C, as they are no longer required. Relating to this, they will also update the DV according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines which includes new levels for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D.

Removing “Calories from Fat”

In an article by Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center, they claim that research has shown that including the specific type of fat in the product is more important than listing the actual amount of fat on the package.

Changing Servings Sizes

This is a crucial change because it will reflect the number of servings Americans actually consume when eating or drinking certain foods and beverages. Additionally, packages falling between the range of one to two serving sizes will now be listed as a single serving to make it less confusing. Also, for products with larger than a single serving that can be consumed in one sitting alone, the label will include a second column to differentiate between the number of calories, fats, etc. in one serving compared to the whole package.

All of these changes coincide with the changes in the traditional American diet over time. In an effort to be more transparent, the FDA hopes to bring awareness to the amount of vitamins, calories, fats and sugars that consumers are choosing to ingest so it’s easier to make more mindful choices related to their own health and nutrition.

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