Nutrition facts labels on food packages are going to be completely revised.
First lady Michelle Obama is expected to announce final rules for new labels in a speech Friday morning as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to combat childhood obesity.
“This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices,” the first lady said in a statement.
For food companies that make less than $10 million in annual sales, there’s a three-year grace period.
Reaction to the labels from food companies has been mixed since they were first proposed. While some companies have fought the new line for added sugar, others have supported it. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the food industry’s largest companies, has supported the larger print for calories.
Some key changes to the Nutrition Facts Labels:
1. Serving sizes. This is perhaps the most important and controversial update and one that has not been changed in 20 years. The serving sizes now reflect what people currently eat — not how much companies think they should be eating.
2. Calories. The total count is now highlighted in huge letters rather than being in the same type size as the other nutrition information. This change, FDA officials have said, will address the country’s growing obesity epidemic.
3. Added sugars. This completely new category is important given recent updates to the dietary guidelines urging Americans to cut down on sugars that come from processed foods like cakes and cookies. Added sugars are measured in both grams and as a percent daily value. The sugar industry has said that this emphasis on added sugars is “not scientifically justifiable,” but the FDA has said it believes the evidence against over-consuming this type of sugar is strong.
4. Multi-serving products. For some food products that could be consumed in multiple sittings there will now be two columns to indicate the per-serving and per-package calorie and nutrition information that will save you from doing some math.
5. Odd-sized packages.Packages or containers that are between one and two servings — like 20-ounce bottles of sodas — will now be labeled as one serving.
6. Sodium and dietary fiber. The percent daily values for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D will change for many foods based on the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Institute of Medicine recommendations.
7. Vitamin D and potassium. In the past, labels only had the percent daily values for vitamin D and potassium, but they’ll now also show the gram amount. “These are nutrients that some people are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease,” the FDA said in a statement.
8. Vitamins A and C. These will no longer be required on labels since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare nowadays
9. Fat. Based on research that shows the type of fat is more important than the amount, the “Calories from Fat” line will disappear. However, “Total Fat,” and the subcategories “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will still be required.
10. Percent Daily Value. The explanation of what this is continues to appear at the bottom of the label and is still based on a 2,000 calorie diet but it is more streamlined.