New Food Label: What To Look For & Why Is It Important?

Many of you may know and have seen the new food label already taking place. The FDA extended compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label to January 1, 2020 for manufacturers with $10 million of more in annual food sales. Those manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales have until January 1, 2021 to comply. I have seen it more and more, but with the coming year almost all labels will be the newer version.

From FDA Website: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm
Increasing Type Size & Information Now In Bold

To show more awareness, the new label has an increased type size for “Calories” “Servings per Container” and the “Serving Size”. The number of calories and serving size are in bold to highlight the information

Why Important?

Take for example a small bag of chips from the vending machine. Some bags are 1 serving, however a lot that I have seen are 2 servings. Thinking the smaller bag is meant for a single serving you eat the whole thing thinking you are have 250 calories, not the 500 you just had. The added attention to this area of the Nutrition Fact Label is suppose to help consumers be more aware.

New Footnote for Describing “Daily Value”

This is to give a better understanding of what “Daily Value” means. This is a daily value for an average 2,000 calorie diet. However, depending on age and weight for you it might be more or less. Along with that, something that the footnote does not bring out, the “Daily Value” is meant for an average healthy person on a 2,000 calorie diet. So if there is something you are watching or needing more of, it’s better to look at the actual grams than the percentage as this is an average percent.

Showing Actual Amount & The Daily Value

Vitamin D and potassium are now required to be on the label. For Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium the label must now show the actual amount of those nutrients along with the percentage of daily value.

Why Important?

Although the daily value is helpful for an average healthy person, many people need more than the daily value of these nutrients due to a lack of vitamin D, osteoporosis, heart disease, and anemia. Knowing the exact amount in a given product will help those who specifically need to watch their intake of these nutrients can more easily be able to keep track.

Added Sugar

The new label is adding “Added Sugars” to the label. Probably one of my favorite additions.

Why Important?

In my previous post about Sugar Addiction, I mentioned the new label. More and more people are addicted to sugar and don’t even realize it. Sugar is not all bad. There are naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy. In manufactured products, let’s say yogurt, they can add in sugars, like corn syrup, which adds to the total sugar count. Dairy already has sugars like lactose naturally in it. Dairy products will have a small amount of sugar, however when adding flavors and sweeteners to the yogurt, you are not sure which is naturally occurring sugar or added unnecessary sugar. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to stay within the caloric intake and meet your nutrient needs if you are taking in too much added sugars. The suggestions is that no more than 10% of your total daily calories should be from sugar. If you can do less, do less.

Updated Daily Values

Due to newer scientific evidence the daily values for sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are getting a makeover.

Updated Serving Sizes and Labeling

One of the newer things that I think will be helpful is that packages that are between 1-2 servings, will have it labeled as 1 serving with the appropriate nutrient label. Going back to my example of the bag of chips, instead of the small bag of chips being 1 1/2 or 2 servings, it will be labeled as 1, but with the nutritional information for the whole bag. People will be able to see exactly what they are eating if they eat the whole package.

Then there are dual column labels. For those products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings, like a pint of ice cream (we’ve all done it), it will have a “per serving” label and “per package/unit” label next to it for better clarification and to inform people who are planning on eating it in one sitting, what they are about to eat.

 

Let me ask you – are you liking the changes of the new label?

 


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