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Nutrition Facts Label getting an update

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In the coming months, shoppers will begin to see a revamped Nutrition Facts Label stamped on packaged foods lining store shelves after the Food and Drug Administration approved a revised version of the label this spring.

“The redesigned label incorporates some of the latest findings in nutritional science and also will help consumers more easily make informed decisions about the foods they eat,” said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.

The Nutrition Facts Label will generally keep the same look with some important, noticeable differences.

For instance, foods such as 20-ounce sodas and 15-ounce cans of soup that are typically eaten at one time, but contain between one and two servings, will now be labeled as one serving.

“The size of a packaged item can affect what people eat. The hope is this change will make it easier for people to understand how many calories and nutrients they’re consuming if they eat or drink an entire package of a certain food,” Hermann said.

Similarly, for food items larger than a single serving that could be eaten at one time or divided over multiple sittings, a dual column label will reflect calories and nutrients per serving and per unit.

Meanwhile, calories, servings per container and serving size declarations will appear in larger type, and calories and serving size also will be bolded.

Other changes include a new entry to the label, added sugars, as well as an updated list of required or permitted-to-be-declared nutrients.

Vitamin D and potassium will be required information on the label while Vitamins A and C will no longer be required, but can be voluntarily included. Calcium and iron will continue to be required to appear on the label.

“The most up-to-date science indicates it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need and still stay within calories limits if more than 10 percent of your total daily calories come from added sugars, so incorporating this detail to the Nutrition Facts Label will help people fine-tune their food choices,” Hermann said.

Calories from fat has been removed as well, but total fat, saturated fat and trans fat will remain on the label. The footnote at the bottom of the label also will more clearly explain the meaning of Percent Daily Value.

Finally, serving sizes will shift, too. By law, serving sizes should reflect how much people are actually consuming rather than how much they should be consuming.

“Since the portions we’re eating have changed since 1993, when the requirements were last published, consumers will see new reference amounts,” Hermann said. “For instance, 2/3 cup, instead of 1/2 cup, will be one serving of ice cream and one serving of soda will be 12 ounces rather than 8 ounces.”

Manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual sales should begin using the new label by July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales will have an extra year to comply.

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