Food Label Changes

Kayla Slater, Columnist
The FDA recently proposed to update the Nutrition label on packaged foods. The nutrition labels have not been updated in the last 20 years and a lot has changed in the way people think about what they eat. The new labels will more accurately reflect how people eat today and are intended to help reduce obesity and diabetes.

The changes include a calorie count that is listed bigger and bolder. This way people can more easily see how many calories are in a serving size. Serving sizes are also being adjusted. The amount of calories per serving will reflect more accurately an individual portion size. For ice cream: the allotted serving size will be one cup instead of a half cup.

Other changes include listing the amount of added sugars. So it is easier for individuals to know how much added sugar is in a product compared to its natural sugars. FDA hopes this will help consumers eat less added sugar. Changes are also being made to the fat label. It will list the amount of total fat, saturated and trans fat, but not calories from fat. This change is based on more scientific evidence that the type of fat is more important than how much. Potassium and vitamin D are being added to the nutrition label. Recent studies show that potassium lowers blood pressure and vitamin D is important for one’s health. Also, a revision is being made to the daily values. The recommended daily sodium is being reduced to 2,300 mg.

The total cost to revise the food labels is about two billion dollars, but the FDA insists the effects of these changes will be beneficial. The new labels will affect all packaged foods except meat, poultry and processed egg products since the FDA does not regulate these foods. The FDA has given the public 90 days to comment since the proposal was given. This change will most likely not take effect until three years from now. Dietitians and nutrition experts are excited for these changes despite the cost.

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