Today, at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the modernized Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods reflecting the latest science, the most relevant nutrition information, and a refreshed design. A central goal of Let’s Move! is to provide families with the information they need to make healthy choices, and after years of effort, we celebrate this progress.
“I am thrilled that the FDA has finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “The calorie count is bigger, bigger font, so you can actually see it. The serving sizes are more realistic. And, most important of all, this label will tell you how much sugar in your snack was added during processing, and how much of it comes from ingredients like fruit. So very soon — very soon — you will no longer need a microscope, a calculator, or a degree in nutrition to figure out whether the food you’re buying is actually good for our kids.”
Found on nearly 800,000 products, the label has not been significantly updated since its initial release twenty years ago. Considering 77% of U.S. adults report using the Nutrition Facts label when buying a food product, the revamped label is a phenomenal achievement supporting the First Lady’s efforts through Let’s Move! to raise a healthier generation.
After reviewing the comments received on the proposed rules, the consumer studies, and updated nutrition science, the FDA made a number of changes to the label. The final label requires Added Sugars to be declared to help consumers know how much sugar is added to the product during the processing of foods. The label features a revamped format that highlights key information, such as calories and servings per container. It also replaces out-of-date serving sizes to better align with the amount consumers actually eat.
First Lady Michelle Obama announces the modernized Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods during the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C., May 20, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The major changes to the Nutrition Facts label include:
- A more prominent display of “calories,” “servings,” and “servings per container” that drives consumers’ attention to these important elements when making informed food choices.
- Requirements for declaring the amount of “Added Sugars” in a food product. This is consistent with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute of Medicine’s determination that calorie intake from added sugar is too high in the U.S. population and should be reduced. Including “Added Sugars” on the label will help consumers know how much sugar has been added to a product.
- Updated serving size requirements to reflect the amounts people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were first put into place in 1993. By law, serving sizes must be based on the portion consumers actually eat.
- “Dual column” labels to highlight both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for the whole package of certain food products.
- An abbreviated footnote better explaining percent Daily Value.
- An updated list of nutrients required to be declared based off of public health significance. Vitamin D and potassium—nutrients Americans often do not get enough of—will be required. Calcium and iron will continue to be required. Vitamins A and C are no longer required but can be included on a voluntary basis.
Compliance will be required two years from today, and manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.
For more information on today’s announcement, visit here.