By: Susan Epstein, MS, RD, CDN
Good news! The nutrition facts label is getting a makeover! On May 20, 2016, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced new rules for food labels. The new food labels will be updated, making them easier to read and understand. As a result, consumers will have an easier time making informed food choices.
One update is that the font size for “Calories”, “Serving Size”, and “Servings Per Container” will be larger and therefore easier to read. Also the “calories” and “serving size” will be in bold print making it easier for consumers to identify.
The serving sizes will also be more realistic. The law will now require serving sizes to reflect realistic serving sizes that people actually eat. For example, the serving size for ice cream has increased from ½ cup to 2/3 cup.
Additionally, for the foods that either can be eaten in multiple sittings or all at one time (if a person has the munchies), the new label will reflect this. There will be 2 columns on the packaging. One will indicate the nutrition facts for 1 serving and the other will indicate the nutrition facts per package. For example, a pint of ice cream will list the facts for 1 serving and also per container.
Also, “odd sized” packages which can be considered 1 or 2 servings, will be labeled as 1 serving. Examples include a 20 ounce bottle of soda or a 15 ounce can of soup.
Information regarding sugars will be more clear. Currently on food labels, “sugar” includes both naturally occurring sugars together with added sugars. On the new label, the added sugars will be separate.
Manufacturers will be required to include the actual amounts of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium in foods. Other vitamins and minerals will be optional.
What’s Different (Taken from FDA.gov):
So when will these new labels be on the shelves? Food manufacturers are required to comply with these rules by July 26th, 2018. Smaller companies will have an additional year.