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FDA Changes to Nutrition Facts Labels

Nutrition Facts labels are designed to help consumers make informed, healthy choices. The first major nutrition labeling regulation was the FDA’s Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (NLEA).  This act standardized and mandated nutrition labeling on most packaged foods, from canned and frozen goods to breads, cereals, snacks, and beverages.

Over the years, dietary recommendations, the regulations and labels have evolved, with the latest version issued in 2016 and rolled out in January 2020, for larger manufacturers and January 2021 for smaller ones.

Regulations are constantly evolving due to advancements in scientific research, public input, and new nutritional information. As a result, brands must stay updated on current FDA standards to continue making products consumers love and trust.

Below is a summary of the changes to the Nutrition Facts label resulting from the 2016 regulations:

Serving Size

The 2016 label features “servings per container” and “serving size” in a larger, bolder font. Serving sizes are now based on Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs), reflecting what people actually eat. For example, a serving of soda has increased from 8 to 12 ounces, and ice cream from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup.

Packages between one and two servings, like a 15-ounce can of soup, are treated as a single serving. Larger packages that could be eaten in one sitting will show two columns: one per serving and one for the entire package.

Calories

Calories are now displayed more prominently on the label, and “calories from fat” has been removed, as the type of fat is more important than the amount.

Added Sugars

One major change to the food labels is the inclusion of added sugars, which are sugars added during food processing. Added sugars are more concerning than natural sugars found in whole foods.

Research indicates that exceeding 10% of daily calories from added sugars can hinder meeting nutritional needs and lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Added sugars will be listed in grams and percent daily value.

Dietary Fibers

The FDA’s definition of fiber for food labels includes both naturally occurring fibers and added fibers that provide health benefits. This encompasses fibers found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and certain added nondigestible carbohydrates. All qualifying fibers are included in the dietary fiber value on the 2016 food label.

Nutrients & Daily Values (DV)

The 2016 food label now requires vitamin D and potassium, while vitamins A and C are no longer required due to the rarity of deficiencies. Calcium and iron remain mandatory. Manufacturers must list the actual amount and percent daily value of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, unlike the older label which only required percent daily value.

Daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet and help consumers understand nutrient intake in the context of their overall diet.

About LabelCalc

LabelCalc, a Datacor company, is used by food manufacturers worldwide to generate accurate nutrition facts labels quickly and easily. Within just a few mouse clicks, the intuitive and user-friendly software compiles relevant information about ingredients, nutrition information, serving sizes, and allergens – all correctly formatted and compliant with the latest FDA rules. Not only is it proven to save a lot of time, but there’s also no need to worry about any calculations or math behind the scenes – LabelCalc does all the hard work for you.

If you have any questions about our trusted software solution, email Tracy Herb, Product Owner – LabelCalc, at tlherb@datacor.com. To get a quote or request a demo, visit https://labelcalc.com/contact-us/.

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