Food Label Changes in 2018

The Nutrition Fact labels were designed more than 20 years ago. After extensive research on nutrition, public health and diet, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided that there’s a need to update the labels to reflect the needs of today’s consumer. You may already see the new labels on some foods because the original date to comply was July 2018. However, the FDA extended the date and manufacturers aren’t required to adhere to the change until 2020.

To help consumers make healthy decisions, the Nutrition Facts label will be updated with a new look and include current scientific information. Detailed below are changes to be reflected on the Nutrition Facts label:

  • Diet and chronic conditions:
    some labels may contain information on the link between diet and chronic conditions such as heart disease and obesity.

  • Font size:
    the font size will be bigger for information such as the number of calories, servings per container and serving size to make it easier to find this information on the label. The number of calories and serving size will also be bolded.

  • Vitamins and nutrients content:
    the actual amount and recommended percent daily value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium will now be on food labels. The daily values for sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D will be updated to help people understand what the values mean.

  • Percent Daily Value:
    the new labels will define Percent Daily Value: “The Percent Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. For general nutrition, values are based on a daily 2,000 calorie diet.”

  • Sugar content:
    the amount in grams and percent daily value of the sugar content will be on the label. The new label will have a section called “Includes X grams of added sugars” under the “Total sugars” section with “X” representing the number of grams.

  • Fat content:
    “Calories from fat” will be removed, but “Total fat,” “Saturated fat” and “Trans fat” will remain on labels.

  • Serving sizes:
    serving sizes on food labels today were assigned in 1993. Thus, serving sizes on new labels will comply with the law that serving sizes should reflect how much food or drink people actually consume, instead of what was recommended. Here are some examples you may see: the serving size of yogurt will decrease from 8 ounces to 6 ounces and soda will increase from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.
  • The label change will require that the calories and other nutrient information reflect one serving size if the food is to be consumed in one sitting.

Because there are many changes required to update the Nutrition Facts label, the FDA will give food manufacturers time to learn about the new regulations and to adapt to the changes. New labeling is expected to be on all foods and drinks by January 2020 for large food manufacturers and a year later for smaller food manufacturers. Though the new labels are expected to equip consumers with information needed to make healthy food choices, it’s always a good idea to discuss health, diet and any conditions you may have with your healthcare provider.