Big Changes Coming to Food Labels

FDA proposing calories per package and adjusted serving size

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2014 6:51 AM CST

(Newser) – You may no longer have to squint at nutrition labels to see the calories you're consuming. For the first time in more than 20 years, the FDA is proposing big changes to packaged food and drink labels, requiring calories and more realistic portion sizes to be in large, bold print, as well as a bigger emphasis on added sugars and certain nutrients, CNN reports. Politico notes the revamp has been in the works for 10 years but was pushed ahead by Michelle Obama, who calls it "a big deal." A nutrition expert, however, says it's "wildly controversial," noting the food industry won't be happy footing the $2 billion bill to implement the changes.

Among them, the added sugar in a product (as opposed to naturally occurring sugar) will now be shown, "calories from fat" will be removed to focus on total calories in each serving, and the daily values of nutrients like sodium and Vitamin D, which were based on data and eating habits from the 1970s and '80s, will be updated, reports the New York Times. About 17% of all serving sizes will also change and a calories "per package" distinction will be added to goods that could be downed in one sitting, such as a 20 oz. soda. The proposal has a 90-day comment period before the changes could be put in place, with a two-year grace period for companies to adapt.

This handout image provide by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows, from left, a current food nutrition label, a proposed label and an alternate label.   (AP Photo/FDA)
The nutrition facts label on the side of a cereal box is photographed in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
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