I thought the day would never come!  Back in May of this year, the FDA finally issued their Final Rule on the long-anticipated revision to the Nutrition Facts label. Food manufacturers are required to use the new label by July 26, 2018, however, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

Here is a graphic comparing the existing/old label to the new label:

old-vs-new-format

Some of the changes are fairly obvious when looking at the above comparison, however there are many other important changes to the regulations and specific details that are less obvious and may be difficult to ascertain for those not familiar with navigating the notoriously complicated FDA regulatory language.

As a nutritionist and marketing consultant to the food industry on FDA food labeling regulations for over 15 years, it is my business to know precisely what all of the important changes are. Therefore, I put together the following recap of all of the important changes, both for my own reference (a “cheat sheet” if you will) and to share with my friends and colleagues in the food industry.

 

Critical changes to the Nutrition Facts label that you need to know if you are in the food industry:

 

‘Servings Per Container’ declaration:

  • Moved up, directly above the ‘Serving size’ Declaration.
  • Number of servings listed before ‘servings per container’ instead of after.
  • Type size increased from 8 to 10 point.

 

‘Serving Size’ declaration:

  • Type size increased from 8 to 10 point.
  • Boldface type style.
  • Quantitative amount is right justified
  • Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC) used for determining proper serving size are changing for many popular food categories (See new RACC table provided in Final rule)

 

‘Calories’ declaration:

  • Type size of the word ‘Calories’ increased to 16 point minimum.*
  • Type size of numerical value increased to 22 point minimum*
  • Numerical value in boldface type.

 

‘Calories from Fat’ declaration:

  • Removed. No longer required.

 

‘Total Fat’ declaration:

  • Daily Reference Value (DRV) used to calculated %DV increased from 65g to 78g.**

 

‘Sodium’ Declaration:

  • Daily Reference Value (DRV) used to calculated %DV decreased from 2400mg to 2300mg.**

 

‘Total Carbohydrate’ declaration:

  • Daily Reference Value (DRV) used to calculated %DV decreased from 300g to 275g.**

 

‘Dietary Fiber’ declaration:

  • Daily Reference Value (DRV) used to calculated %DV increased from 25g to 28g.**

 

‘Total Sugars’ declaration:

  • Replaces ‘Sugars’ declaration.

 

‘Added Sugars’ declaration:

  • Required for products containing 1g or more of added sugars or claims about sweeteners.
  • Indented directly below Total Sugars declaration, with the wording “Includes Xg Added Sugars”
  • %DV value included in boldface type and in right-justified position
  • New Daily Reference Value used to calculate %DV is 50g (=10% of daily calories of 2000 kcal diet)
  • Added sugars are defined as “either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type”. Certain concentrated fruit or vegetable juices used in beverage and other high-moisture foods may be exempted (see Final Rule regulatory text for details).

 

Vitamins and Minerals declared below Protein declaration:

  • Quantitative amounts in mg or mcg now required immediately following the name of the Vitamin or Mineral.

 

Vitamins A and C declarations:

  • No longer mandatory, may be declared voluntarily.

 

‘Vitamin D’ declaration:

  • Now required instead of voluntary.
  • Reference Daily Intake (RDI) used to calculate %DV now based on 20mcg instead of 400IU.**

 

‘Calcium’ declaration:

  • Reference Daily Intake (RDI) used to calculate %DV increased from 1000mg to 1300mg.**

 

‘Potassium’ declaration:

  • Now required instead of voluntary.
  • Location moved from below Sodium declaration to below Iron in the bottom Vitamins and Minerals section.
  • Reference Daily Intake (RDI) used to calculate %DV increased from 3500mg to 4700mg.**

 

%DV Footnote:

  • Changed to “*The % Daily Value (DV) 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”

 

Footnote table listing DRVs for certain nutrients based on 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets:

  • No longer required.

 

Single Serving Container definition:

  • All containers containing less than 200% of the RACC

 

Dual-Column Labeling requirement:

  • Required on all containers that contain at least 200% and up to and including 300% of the RACC for that particular food.

 

The FDA’s own summary page can be found here

 

The FDA’s detailed regulatory text can be found here and here

 

*See regulatory text here for details on minimum type size exceptions made for small and intermediate-sized packages.

**Products marketed specifically to infants, children under 4 years of age, or pregnant or lactating women must include %DV values that are calculated based on the specific DRV’s and RDI’s designated for those groups. The new DRV’s and RDI’s for all groups can be found in the new regulatory text here.

The FDA’s new Nutrition Facts label…the most pertinent changes you need to know…

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