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Top 5 Changes FDA Proposes for Nutrition Labels

March 3, 2014

On February 27, 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first major changes to nutrition labels since they were introduced twenty years ago. FDA believes new public health and scientific information — including evidence on nutrition, obesity, and chronic disease — supports the alterations. The proposed rules will be published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2014, and will be open for public comment until June 2, 2014. Here are the top five changes proposed by FDA:

  1. Serving sizes will be updated in an attempt to reflect amounts that people customarily consume in one sitting. FDA feels that its current serving size guidelines are out of date because people today are generally eating more than they did twenty years ago. For example, a twenty-ounce soda or a fifteen-ounce can of soup would now be labeled as one serving, compared to one or two servings on the old label. In addition, certain larger packages that could be consumed in one sitting or in multiple sittings would be labeled per serving and per package under the proposed rule.
  2. FDA would require declaration of "Added Sugars" on the label. This change would force food manufacturers to differentiate between naturally-occurring sugars in the product and any other sugar added to the food, regardless of source or level of processing. Companies may now face the challenge of disclosing to consumers levels of "added" sugars, even if those sugars are chemically identical to naturally-occurring sugars in the product.
  3. FDA would require two new nutrients appear on the label: vitamin D and potassium. This presents an opportunity for a food manufacturer to make content claims on the label for both nutrients, such as "Excellent source of vitamin D!" Vitamins A and C would become voluntary additions to the new labels.
  4. "Daily Values" for a few nutrients—including calcium, sodium, and dietary fiber—would be revised to reflect current medical thought. Changes to daily values may alter existing nutrient-content claims on food labels. For instance, a product currently promoted as a "good source of calcium" may no longer fit the regulatory definition based on the revised daily value for that nutrient.
  5. "Calories from fat" would no longer be required on the label, though FDA would still require "Total Fat," "Saturated Fat," and "Trans Fat."

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

John Fuson
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2910