As a food manufacturer, you’re probably well aware that nutrition facts labels are something that are always being changed and updated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nutrition facts labels are also something that can be can quite confusing if you do not have a background in reading and understanding nutrition facts. This article will take a look at how to read the nutrition facts label and look at the updates that the FDA have put on the table for 2019 and beyond.
Reading the Nutrition Facts Label
The first bit of information that you see on a nutrition label is the serving size and how many servings are in the food container. Serving sizes will always be in a familiar, household unite (cups, pieces, etc.) and will also list the metric amount.
Going down the label, the next bit of information is the calories and calories from fat (per serving). The calorie information is important as calories are a determining factor in managing weight.
Following the calories are “the meat” of the label, the nutrients. Total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein all list the metric amount along with the recommended % Daily Value.
The rest of the nutrients; vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. These nutrients all show the recommended % Daily Value. These nutrients, along with dietary fiber and protein, are recommended by the FDA for improving health and reducing the risk of some diseases and conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, etc).
The bottom of the nutrition facts label is the footnote. The statement is the same on all nutrition labels and the metric information appears on labels as long as the label on the packaging has enough space.
New Nutrition Facts Label
In May of 2016 the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label and gave a compliance date of January 1, 2020 for food manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales and a compliance date of January 1, 2021 for manufacturers with under $10 million in annual sales. Some manufacturers have already made the switch to the new label and it’s always good to be ahead of the curve.
- The FDA has made several changes to the label which aim to help Americans make easier and more informed food choices:
- The text for servings per container and serving size is now larger and a bolder type. Serving sizes have also been updated to better reflect the actual amount that consumers are eating and drinking
- The text for “Calories” is now larger and bolder.
- “Calories from fat” is being removed from labels.
- “Added sugars” is now required on labels.
- Vitamin D and potassium are now required on labels. Vitamins A and C are no longer required. The recommended daily values of other nutrients has been changed to reflect newer scientific evidence.
- The sentence found in the footnote has been changed to better explain % daily value.
The FDA provides the following example of an old label as compared to the new label:
Switching to the New Label
As mentioned, some manufacturers have already made the switch but there are bound to be some manufacturers who wait until the last minute to fall into compliance. If you would like to be proactive, LabelCalc offers an easy-to-use software and can produce FDA-compliant labels instantly.
LabelCalc is an industry-leading recipe analysis tool used by food manufactures, global retail stores and food entrepreneurs. To get started, see our pricing today.