FDA Issues Final Regulations for Nutrition Facts Labeling and Serving Size Changes

FDA has issued final regulations changing the requirements for the Nutrition Facts label required on almost all foods since 1994.

A picture tells a thousand words, or in this case, more than 1000 pages of typewritten text detailing the new regulations that will appear in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016. The following is a comparison of the current and new FDA Nutrition Facts label:

FDA Nutrition Facts Label

The full text of the rules can be viewed here.

Compliance Dates

Manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

Changes in Required Nutrients

  • Added sugars in grams and as a percent of Daily Value will be included on the label.
    • Added sugars are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type. However, fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100 percent juices sold to consumers, fruit or vegetable juice concentrates used towards the total juice percentage label declaration, or for Brix standardization are not considered added sugars that must be labeled. Similarly, fruit juice concentrates which are used to formulate the fruit component of jellies, jams, or preserves in accordance with the standard of identities, or the fruit component of fruit spreads are not labeled as added sugars.
  • Fiber is continued to be listed, but is defined as “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrate(s) [beta]-glucan soluble fiber, psyllium husk, cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum, and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose.
    • A statement of the number of grams of insoluble dietary fiber in a serving may be declared voluntarily except that when a claim is made on the label.
  • “Calories from Fat” is removed from the label.
  • Vitamins and minerals
    • Vitamin D and potassium will be required on the label.
    • Calcium and iron will continue to be required on the label.
    • Manufacturers must declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium.
    • Vitamins A and C will no longer be required but can be included on a voluntary basis.
    • Labels may voluntarily declare the gram amount for other vitamins and minerals.

Changes in Daily Values

  • A new DV of 50 g for added sugars has been established.
  • The DV for sodium decreases from 2,400 mg to 2,300 mg.
  • The DV for fiber is now 28 g.

Changes in Format

  • The type size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” have been increased. The “Serving size” and number of Calories declarations must be in bold face type.
  • The footnote at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts label is changed to explain what “percent Daily Value” means. It will now read: “*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”
  • %DVs would stay on the right hand side of the box (FDA had proposed to place them on the left of the Nutrition Facts panel).

Changes to Serving Sizes

By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. FDA has concluded that the amount that people eat and drink of particular foods and beverages has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. Hence, the agency has changed the Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs) used to determine serving sizes for dozens of food categories. The new RACCs can be found here.

Single Size Containers

To address containers that may be consumed in a single-eating occasion, FDA is requiring that all containers, including containers of products with RACCs of at least 100 grams (g) or 100 milliliters (ml)), containing less than 200 percent of the RACC, be labeled as a single-serving container.

Dual Column Labeling

For certain products that are larger than a single serving, but that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings, manufacturers will have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the amount of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package”/“per unit” basis.

FDA is requiring that containers and units that contain at least 200 percent and up to and including 300 percent of the RACC be labeled with a column of nutrition information within the Nutrition Facts label. The dual column must list the quantitative amounts and percent DVs for the entire container, in addition to the required column listing the quantitative amounts and percent DVs for the serving size derived from the RACC. Examples would be a 24-ounce bottle of soda or a pint of ice cream.

Watch this blog for a further analysis of FDA’s final Nutrition Facts regulations.

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