The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is shaking up the way manufacturers label packaged foods. This will be the first major overhaul of nutrition labels since the 1990s, when they became mandatory per federal law. The aim of this initiative, according to the FDA, is to provide people with better information, to reflect the current eating habits of the population and to incorporate the latest discoveries on nutrition.
The most obvious visual change to the label is the way the calorie count is displayed. On the new labels, the number of calories is listed in large, bold type. The other changes are subtle. For example, labels must now include a line for “Added Sugars” but the “Calories from Fat” line is being removed. The serving sizes have also been adjusted to more accurately reflect the portions that people typically eat.
Thanks to the latest scientific findings on nutrition, the label will include updated daily values for important vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D and sodium. Manufacturers will be required to list the values for calcium, iron, vitamin D and potassium. Listing the amount of vitamins C and A will be voluntary.
Large manufacturers have until July 26, 2018 to implement the new labels, while smaller companies have an additional year to comply.