Changes to Nutrition Facts Labels

By Rachel Rothman, M.S., R.D.

Q: “I have heard that the nutrition facts labels on the back of packaged products are changing.  What are the changes that are being made and when will we see these changes?”

A: Great question – the food world has been buzzing about the proposed changes to the nutrition facts label.  The nutrition facts label was first introduced in 1993 to help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices.  These labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 1970s and 80s.  Since then, portion size has expanded significantly, and our understanding of nutrition science, the modern American diet and the food industry has changed, so the FDA is proposing to update the nutrition facts label found on most food packages in the United States.  The proposed label changes are published in the Federal Registrar, and the public has 90 days to comment on these changes.  You can read more about the changes and view the comments here.  According to the FDA website, the FDA is proposing that the food industry will be given two years to comply with the changes after the publication of any final rules.

The proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label include the following:

  • Making calories and serving sizes more prominent
  • Making the percent daily value information easier for consumers to read
  • Updating serving sizes for many products to realistically reflect the amount people eat in one sitting
  • Adding nutrient comparisons between “per serving” and “per container”
  • Making small changes to the daily value for sodium
  • Listing vitamin D and potassium
  • Informing consumers about how much sugar is being added to a product

Do you have thoughts on the proposed changes?  Let the FDA know here.

When eating out at restaurants, it’s important to consider nutrition when deciding on the best choices for your diet and lifestyle.  Search to find nutrition information for thousands of menu choices nationwide all in one place.