What You Need to Know About the FDA’s Proposed Food Label Changes

A comparison of the current food label and proposed version, according to the FDA website.

As you may have heard, the FDA plans to update Nutrition Fact labels on packaged food products. The goal is to make it easier for consumers to make an educated decision about which products to buy based on common health considerations.

In addition to promoting more clarity in regards to nutrients and the different types of fats present in food products, the newer labeling would make serving sizes less ambiguous. For example, when picking up a bottled beverage, you typically read the nutrition facts related to a “serving.” But there may be more than one serving in that bottle. So even if the drink is only 50 calories per serving, the entire bottle may add up to more than 100 calories overall. To combat this issue, the proposed changes would require food or beverages that are typically consumed in one sitting to be labeled as one serving; meaning that the bottled drink in our example above would have the total calorie count for the entire bottle featured on the label.

The proposal also calls for a label redesign that highlights areas of particular concern for health-conscious shoppers. The FDA has created an updated food label graphic that shows a much more prominent calorie count, number of servings per container, and bolded text for areas such as Total Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, and other important nutritional information. The new labels will also distinguish “Added Sugars” from the more general term, “Sugars,” since many foods, such as fruit, contain natural sugars on their own.

The FDA is also asking for comment regarding the recommended daily value of sodium. Currently, labels feature a recommendation of 2,400 mg. The FDA is proposing to lower this number slightly, to 2,300 mg, however is asking for comment on a possible lower value of 1,500 mg. Many people are at risk of high blood pressure and other disorders exacerbated by high sodium consumption, which is driving the possibility of reducing the daily value number.

The FDA’s request for comment has been ongoing, with the closing date to submit comments extended to August 1, 2014. For more information about the proposed food labeling changes, please visit the FDA’s informational page online, which also includes helpful graphics.

At Star Label Products, we are happy to work with clients who would like to update their food and beverage labeling to comply with the proposed changes. To request more information, please contact us online.