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The FDA's Proposed New Food Labels: Sugar Content is Added, Emphasis on Calories and Portions

FDA's New Packaged Food Label Adds Focus to Sugar, Calories, and a Larger Font

The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced on February 27, 2014 a proposed revised new food label for packaged foods.  The FDA  proposed to would include more information about sugar content, caloric content, and replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with how much people really eat, and it would feature a new design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.

First Lady Michelle Obama said “Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family. So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”

The Nutrition Facts label has been required on food packages for 20 years, helping consumers better understand the nutritional value of foods so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families. The label has not changed significantly since 2006 when information on trans fat had to be declared on the label, prompting manufacturers to reduce partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, in many of their products.

Highlights of the proposed changes to the food label

The Proposed NEW food label

FDA's Nutrition Facts Label - the Proposed Format

Why did the FDA propose these changes to the food label?

The FDA says “By revamping the Nutrition Facts label, FDA wants to make it easier than ever for consumers to make better informed food choices that will support a healthy diet.” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “To help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country, the proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes.”

Which labels are affected?

The changes proposed today affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The FDA is also proposing to make corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements where applicable.

Additional information

The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.

Links to US FDA pages and regulations

Related Information

Wheat Gluten Allergies Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods

An estimated 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease. In people with celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. Such damage limits the ability of celiac disease patients to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other very serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

This page was updated on 30-Mar-2016