Nutrition Labels are getting a makeover. The labels will receive a major overhaul, including the elimination of calories from fat, the addition of added sugars, and a change in serving sizes. The Food and Drug Administration want these changes in order to help consumers better understand what they are already eating. Michelle Obama is one of the leaders of the initiative, adding this proposal to her Let’s Move initiative.
The nutrition label makeover will take away categories that are not particularly important to the needs of consumers. The categories removed will be substituted with the generational needs, in an attempt to combat obesity and many other health related issues. Calories will be the main emphasise on the new label, they will be larger and in bold print.
First lady Michelle Obama believes the current labels create confusion among consumers. They are often misleading and misunderstood. The proposal would create a change in serving sizes as well, many products have multiple servings. Items that are typically consumed as single servings create great confusion among consumers, especially those with nutritional labels that state the items are 2-3 servings per package or bottle. The new label would state the total caloric intake of items typically consumed as single servings, instead of dividing it into 2 or 2.5 servings. Examples of this are a 20-ounce bottle of soda or a can of sweetened tea, both are typically consumed as single servings yet their labels divide the nutrition into 2.5 servings. The average consumer would then have to multiply the calories, fat, and sugars in order to get the true number of what was consumed. With the proposed change, the 20-ounce bottle of soda’s nutrition label would be one serving size. Serving sizes will also go up in categories such as ice cream, where the current serving sizes are 2/3 cup; the proposal would change these to 1 cup.
Another of the major changes is the addition of added sugars. Many companies add sugars to their products, and although both sugars have the same effects, the added sugars are not reported on the labels thereby consumers eat more sugar without knowing. Another change will be that of the recommended daily sodium intake. Current nutrition labels recommend a daily sodium intake of no more than 2,400 milligrams; the proposed change would lower that number to 2300 milligrams. Most labels only include vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. With the changes vitamins A and C will be removed and set as an option category for manufacturers, and exchanged for vitamin D and potassium.
The proposed changes will circulate for a period of 90 days. During this period the FDA will be taking in comments from experts and the general public, from these comments that FDA may make modifications to their proposal before releasing the mandated labeling to the manufacturers.
The implementation of these changes will cost an estimated $2 billion, yet the FDA is certain that the benefits will outweigh the cost. The Washington Post reported that the cost will lead to more than $20 billion in benefits over the next 20 years.
By Dony Lugo