This week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced proposed changes in our food labels. Major changes in the food labels appearing on everything from chips to soup haven’t changed much in 20 years. So what are some of the proposed changes?
Serving sizes – ever look at the serving size on ice cream. It states one half cup is the serving size, yet who eats only one half cup? In teaching my nutrition class, I show a video in which the dietitian notes the one half cup serving size on ice cream. The students are always surprised it is so low. When I told my husband, he insisted that one half cup was too low and went to the freezer to prove it. Of course, the ice cream container verified that one half cup is the serving. So one of the proposed food label changes is to increase the serving size on foods such as ice cream to reflect what people actually eat. Thus, for ice cream the serving size will increase from one half cup to one cup. FDA notes, By law, the label information on serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what they “should” be eating.
Calories – the calories per serving is now on food labels but under the proposal it will be much more prominent – larger font and in bold print.
Sugar – the current food labels list “Sugars” but these can be naturally present sugars such as fructose or lactose in milk. The new labels will not “Added sugars” which will be great as it is the “added sugars” we are trying to avoid in our diet, not the naturally present sugars.
Avoid Too Much – under this heading will be the saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, along with the added sugar. So one can easily be made aware of what we should try to cut back on in our diets.
Get enough – this section will focus on nutrients we need to be emphasizing more in our diets to ensure we get enough such as vitamin D, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber.
So when will we see these new food labels? Not anytime soon as the comment period is 90 days, a final rule issued in about a year and then provide the industry two years or so to come into compliance. Thus, it could take two years or longer before the changes make it onto food labels in your grocery store shelves. The current food labels and the proposed are from FDA’s website.
Sources: Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label Image source: Proposed Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label