FDA mulls changes in Nutrition Facts labels to better inform consumers

In a bid to better inform the consumers, the federal agency Food and Drug Administration is mulling over bringing changes to the labels on packaged foods depicting the “Nutrition Facts”.

The food labels were introduced in the United States in 1993. According to the FDA, no changes have been made in the nutritional facts since its introduction and therefore there is a huge need to update the information to reflect changed eating habits and better inform the consumers.

“The label was “revolutionary” when it was first introduced, but it needs to be brought into the 21st century,” FDA says.

New researches and studies on health have suggested that the diseases like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, strokes, diabetes and obesity are closely associated with the food and lifestyle of the people. The increasing risk of these diseases signal that people need more information about the food they are eating.

food-labels

“We know that too many people’s health is being compromised by the food they eat,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg wrote in a post on the FDA blog.

The federal agency has planned to bring key changes in the food labels in a bid to make it more noticeable. For example, the size and bolding on calorie counts will be increased to make them more noticeable and effective on the same time. The labels will include both values for the entire package and each serving size.

A new category of “added sugars” will also be included in the proposed food labels alongwith the total sugar present in a product. This will help the consumers in differentiating between naturally-occurring sugars and those that were added.

“The Nutrition Facts Label is for everyone. FDA does not regulate diets, but we can make sure that you know exactly what you’re eating. Having more information can enable you to make an educated decision about the foods you eat and serve your family,” wrote Hamburg.

Experts say, the proposed changes in the food labels would cost the food industry an estimated $2 billion, but could provide as much as $30 billion in health benefits.

FDA has invited suggesting and feedbacks on the proposals from the general public within 90 days after which the agency would give companies two years to implement changes.