New labels would highlights calories, include 'added sugars'

Special edition - Nutrition Facts revamp: Radical overhaul or a missed opportunity?

The proposals mark the biggest change to food labeling regs in 20 years

UPDATED: Significant changes to the Nutrition Facts panel on foods & beverages have been proposed in the US and Canada, with the plan to include ‘added sugars’ tweak rules on dietary fiber labeling, and update the reference values used to calculate percent DVs of nutrients proving the most controversial.

To help you stay up to speed with the heated debate all this is generating in the industry, you can read the comments in the docket HERE (serving sizes) and HERE (Nutrition Facts).

To read the proposals in full, click HERE, but here’s a summary of the key changes and the proposed TIMETABLE:

  • Remove ‘calories from fat’.
  • Declare ‘added sugars’.
  • Require pre-approval for some fiber ingredients included in dietary fiber calculation.
  • Keep mandatory requirement to list calcium & iron, make vitamins A & C voluntary.
  • Add mandatory requirement to list vitamin D & potassium.
  • Update reference values used to calculate % DVs of nutrients.
  • Update reference value for sodium from 2,400mg to 2,300mg.  
  • Make ‘calories’ more prominent.

Separately, the FDA is also proposing to tweak serving sizes to better reflect real-life consumption behavior (who eats half a muffin washed down with half a can of energy drink?).

To read the proposals in full, click HERE, but here’s a summary of the key changes: 

  • Amend definition of a single-serving container.
  • Require dual-column labeling for certain containers.
  • Update and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACC).
  • Add several food products and categories to the RACC per eating occasion for the general food supply.
  • Make technical amendments to various aspects of the serving size regulations.

How have stakeholders reacted to the changes?

We’ve pulled together all of our recent content on this topic below:

GMA: Nutrition Facts ‘added sugar’ proposal could have bizarre consequences for fruit juice labels

One bizarre consequence of FDA proposals to include ‘added sugars’ on the Nutrition Facts panel would be that not-from-concentrate 100% fruit juice could boast 0g ‘added sugar’ on the new-look labels, whereas 100% juice made from concentrate (containing an identical amount of sugar) would have to list its sugar as ‘added’.

Kellogg: Including ‘added sugars’ on Nutrition Facts panel will just confuse shoppers

Almost a quarter of primary grocery shoppers are unable to correctly identify the total amount of sugar in products featuring the FDA’s ‘new-look’ Nutrition Facts labels, which require manufacturers to list ‘sugar’ and ‘added sugar’ separately, according to a Kellogg survey.

Juice Products Association: Nutrition Facts overhaul could spell end to vitamin D and calcium fortified juices

FDA proposals to increase the RDI for calcium and vitamin D as part of an overhaul of the Nutrition Facts panel mean that juice makers could face major formulation challenges if they still want to make nutrient content claims about these ingredients, claims the Juice Products Association. 

Dietary fiber proposals in Nutrition Facts overhaul will create bureaucratic nightmare, warn industry commentators

FDA proposals that would require the pre-approval of certain fiber ingredients before the agency will count them as ‘dietary fibers’ on the Nutrition Facts panel are illogical and unfair, claim industry commentators.

Milk would no longer qualify as an excellent source of vitamin D or a good source of potassium in new-look Nutrition Facts panel

FDA proposals to increase the RDI for certain nutrients as part of an overhaul of the Nutrition Facts panel mean that milk would no longer qualify as an excellent source of vitamin D or a good source of potassium, while some cheeses and yogurts could lose their eligibility for excellent.

Serving sizes for cereals, canned soup and cooking sprays are completely unrealistic, say Yale researchers

As part of its overhaul of the Nutrition Facts panel, the FDA is proposing to tweak serving sizes to better reflect real-life consumption behavior. But which products should be targeted?

Does vitamin D belong on the Nutrition Facts panel?

FDA proposals to increase the RDI for certain nutrients as part of an overhaul of the Nutrition Facts panel mean that milk would no longer qualify as an excellent source of vitamin D or a good source of potassium, while some cheeses and yogurts could lose their eligibility for excellent source of calcium claims, say dairy firms. 

Should ‘added sugars' be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel?

A row is brewing over the merits of including ‘added sugars’ on the Nutrition Facts panel, with critics arguing that our bodies don’t distinguish between ‘naturally occurring’ and ‘added’ sugar - and neither should food labels - and supporters saying it will help consumers identify foods with more empty calories.

 Nutrition Facts overhaul is a missed opportunity for long chain omega-3s EPA and DHA, says GOED

The FDA’s overhaul of the Nutrition Facts panel misses a public health opportunity by prohibiting firms from even highlighting long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA on the panel, says GOED.

What are the biggest contributors of added sugars to the US diet?

Check out this analysis of NHANES data to see where our added sugars are coming from plus read new comments about the ‘added sugars’ labeling proposal from Ocean Spray cranberries and others.

Former FDA commissioner: Nutrition Facts overhaul doesn’t go far enough

FDA proposals to overhaul the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels don’t got far enough, says former FDA commissioner David Kessler, M.D.  

Behavioral scientists: Changing serving sizes on Nutrition Facts label could have unintended consequences

FDA proposals to change the way serving sizes are calculated to better reflect real-life eating behavior could encourage some people to eat even more unless the wording is changed, says one expert group.

Until phosphorus gets on the USDA’s radar, labeling policy won’t change: NKF

While phosphorus is an essential nutrient found naturally in some foods such as egg yolk and milk, it is increasingly added to packaged foods via a raft of phosphorus additives, and some experts believe it should be listed on the Nutrition Facts panel.

Canada’s proposed Nutrition Label changes emphasize calories, sugar

Health Canada is proposing changes to nutrition labels that would make them easier for consumers to read. 

RD: There’s a health continuum for every food; what pillars do you want to stand on?

Rachel Cheatham, RD, founder of nutrition strategy consultancy FoodScape Group, talks food labeling at the IFT show.

Is your product ready for nutrition label changes?

“A 16-ounce drink and a two-ounce bag of potato chips are a single serving. If it’s bigger than that, from 200 to 400%, then you need to declare two columns of information—one for the serving size and one for the whole container.”

Proposed nutrition labels more effective than current labels: survey

Consumers find proposed labels easier to read in less time.

How much do consumers use (and understand) nutrition labels?

New research from the NPD Group is questioning how many US consumers even routinely check nutrition labels anymore.  

 FDA’s proposed nutrition label changes emphasize calories, serving sizes

If approved, the new labels would place a bigger emphasis on total calories and update serving sizes, while also drawing attention to added sugars and nutrients such as Vitamin D and potassium.  

CRN, NPA submit comments on FDA's proposed changes to food, supplement labels

Both the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association have submitted a comments on FDA’s proposed revisions for food and dietary supplement labels.

Related News

The FDA’s definition of ‘added sugars’ includes naturally-occurring sugars that are isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component, as is the case with fruit juice concentrates.

GMA: Nutrition Facts ‘added sugar’ proposal could have bizarre consequences for fruit juice labels

Bayer Healthcare: FDA proposals will 'deter rather than support the inclusion of beneficial fiber ingredients'

Dietary fiber proposals in Nutrition Facts overhaul will create bureaucratic nightmare, warn industry commentators

Higher calcium and vitamin D fortification levels present big technical challenges in juice, claims the Juice Products Association

Juice Products Association: Nutrition Facts overhaul could spell end to vitamin D and calcium fortified juices

22% of consumers cannot identify the amount of total sugar in a product featuring the new look Nutrition Facts label, vs 7% for the existing label, says Kellogg

Kellogg: Including ‘added sugars’ on Nutrition Facts panel will just confuse shoppers

Serving sizes for cereals should be increased from 30g to 45g to better reflect what US consumers actually eat, say researchers

Serving sizes for cereals, canned soup and cooking sprays are completely unrealistic, say Yale researchers

AND's Pepin Tuma: “Consumers probably are not aware of the ubiquity of phosphorous in foods, because not only is the content not required to be listed on the label...but phosphorus additives are typically unaccounted in the estimated phosphorus content of processed foods because food manufacturers are not required to list their quantities."

Nutrition Facts overhaul a missed chance to label phosphorus: AND

Source: Environmental Working Group

EWG’s Food Scores database goes beyond Nutrition Facts to rank foods’ health value

Private label products such as Simple Truth accounted for 26% of dollar sales at Kroger in the latest quarter (excluding  fuel and pharmacy)

Switching to new Nutrition Facts label in two years is not feasible, says Kroger

Novel beverages boast added nutrients - but do we actually need them?

Super vit crit! Researchers challenge drinks with 'extraordinarily high' added micronutrients

Compliance with sodium & potassium goals ‘close to zero’, study

Joint compliance with WHO sodium and potassium goals is ‘close to zero’, reveals study

Comments (1)

jill - 19 Aug 2014 | 06:49

left justified %DV

Since when are numbers on the left column easier to read? isn't standard number reporting always on the right? be it nutrition facts or accounting? perhaps, i'm not the average consumer, but i find the "new label" MUCH harder to read. Feels like somebody's "make work project"!

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