FDA Provides Information to Assist Industry with New Nutrition Facts Label
Updated: Nov 22, 2018
Last week, FDA published a Nutrition Facts label "Industry Resources" web page to help businesses comply with the requirements of the two final rules issued for food labels, including (1) Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels and (2) Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments, both of which were issued in May 2016.
The page includes Frequently Asked Questions, infographics, tables, and links to the final rules and reference materials.
Following are key points of each of the two rules along with some comparison of old and new.
According to FDA their purpose in mandating label changes for packaged foods was to retain the “iconic look of the label," while updating it to make it easier for consumers to access the information to make informed decisions about their food and to reflect current scientific information – including the link between diet and chronic diseases. Thus, key changes include:
Highlighting key information by requiring increased type size for “calories,” “servings per container”; increased size and bolding “serving size” declaration and number of calories.
Actual amount and percent daily value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium, with the option to voluntarily declare other vitamins and minerals in grams.
Updated "percent Daily Value" footnote for clarification. The footnote must 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.”
Removal of the “Calories from Fat” listing, to reflect the fact that the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount. Thus “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” continue to be required.
Addition of the requirement for “Added Sugars” in grams and as a percent Daily Value (%DV) on the label. This is to include any sugars added during processing or packaging.
Updated nutrient listing to require Vitamin D and potassium (along with calcium and iron which continue to be required), and require actual amount in grams in addition to the %DV must be listed for vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium; and updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D based on newer scientific evidence. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required but can be included voluntarily.
Final Rule: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments
Serving sizes have been updated to reflect what people actually eat and drink – not what they should eat/drink. For example, the reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was previously ½ cup but is changing to ⅔ cup. The reference amount used to set a serving of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.
If a package is between one and two servings (e.g., 20-ounce soda), the calories and other nutrients must be labeled as one serving because the food is typically consumed in one sitting.
Products that are larger than a single serving but could be eaten as a single or multiple serving(s) (e.g., 24-ounce bottle of soda) must have “dual column” labels to show both “per serving” and “per package”/“per unit” information. The goal is to enable consumers can easily understand how many calories and nutrients they get if they consume the entire product in a single serving.
Manufacturers will need to have the new labels on their products by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.
As an aside, while you are redesigning your labels, you may want to consider Walmart's recent requirement to require that suppliers of nonperishable food products under its private label use a "Best if used by" rather than other voluntary statements such as "best by," "use by" and "sell by." The change was motivated by a report from Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, that discussed how confusing food date labels lead to food waste. While this is, of course, not a regulatory requirement, we all know that customer requirements are often stricter and of even greater significance to a company's bottom line than are those of our federal regulators.
These new guidelines will clearly be helpful to the industry as businesses move forward on changing labels, which can be a costly endeavor. Hopefully, we will see guidance on other important FSMA-related topics emerging from the FDA in the very near future too.
About The Acheson Group (TAG)
Led by Former FDA Associate Commissioner for Foods Dr. David Acheson, TAG is a food safety consulting group that provides guidance and expertise worldwide for companies throughout the food supply chain. With in-depth industry knowledge combined with real-world experience, TAG's team of food safety experts help companies more effectively mitigate risk, improve operational efficiencies, and ensure regulatory and standards compliance. www.AchesonGroup.com