In an effort to ensure that its nutritional label regulations reflect current knowledge on the links between nutrition and human health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is slated to publish new labelling requirements for food products and dietary supplements sold in the U.S.
Originally proposed by the FDA in March 2014, the new nutrition label regulations include changes in the following areas:
Declaration of “added sugars”—Under the new regulations, the total amount of “added sugars” must be listed on food nutrition labels as a subcategory of “sugars.”
Other changes based on new nutritional science—Vitamin D and potassium will be added to the list of nutrients that are required to be listed on food nutrition labels, while listing of vitamin C and vitamin A will no longer be required. In addition, recommended daily values for listed nutrients will be modified to reflect current science.
Updated serving size requirements and labelling for certain packages—The new regulations update serving sizes listed on nutrition labels to more accurately reflect what consumers normally eat or drink. In addition, certain foods that consumers tend to eat or drink in a single serving will be required to be listed as such, even if the food package holds more than a single serving size.
A refreshed label design—The design of the nutrition facts label has been redesigned to give greater prominence to caloric content, and to enhance consumer understanding of the information presented.
The FDA’s new nutrition facts label regulations are expected to be published sometime before the end of 2015, and represent the most significant set of changes since nutrition labelling regulations were first introduced in the U.S. in the late 1990s. Food producers will be required to comply with the new labelling regulations by not later than 1 January 2018.
Under the FDA’s current nutrition labelling regulations, low-volume producers who employ fewer than an average of 100 full-time equivalent employees and who sell fewer than 100,000 units of a given product in the U.S. within a 12 month period can file for an exemption from the labelling requirements. It is expected that this exemption will continue to be available under the FDA’s new labelling regulations.
The FDA’s 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) details all of the proposed changes to the nutrition facts label regulations, and is available here.