Yesterday the FDA proposed its first major change to the Nutrition Facts label in 20 years. Should the new label be approved, unrealistic serving sizes, hidden sugar and absent vitamin information will be history.
In a press release the FDA said the change was proposed to remain relevant in light of current data and research on nutrition. The goal is to help people make better choices, thereby lowering the rates of obesity and other chronic illness.
First Lady Michelle Obama is a champion of the new label.
“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family," she said. "So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”
The most notable changes to the label will be the format that will highlight calories, serving sizes and Daily Values. And more importantly, serving sizes and Daily Values will be changing to reflect more recent scientific information.
Other major changes on the new label include a dual column on larger packages that would include both per serving and per package information, mandatory declaration of “added sugars” and mandatory declaration of potassium and vitamin D (important elements in avoiding chronic disease).
The “Calories from Fat” section will be removed from the label, due to research that shows the type of fat is what matters more than the amount. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” sections will all remain on the label.
The new label is still only a proposal, the design and adjustments in measurement aren’t final. The FDA will need to put it through a public approval process among other government approval procedures. Though it’s likely the new label will make it through and onto American food eventually.