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FDA Announces Proposed Changes to Nutrition Facts Panel on Food Labels
Above on the right is an example of what the proposed
changes might look like, as envisioned by FDA.

On Feb. 27, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels. Changes to the appearance of and information provided on food labels in order to help consumers better understand and use the information have been discussed and debated for the past several years. While this announcement is not surprising, if accepted, the changes will have implications for the food industry. Fortunately, the modifications provide some key opportunities for almonds. The proposed changes include:

  • Increased font size for calories per serving — would be required to be in larger, bold font.
  • No more listing of “calories from fat.”
  • Required listing of “added sugars.”
  • Changes in serving sizes to reflect “portions commonly consumed”; e.g., a pint of ice cream will now be listed as two servings, not four; 20-oz. soda bottles will be listed as one serving, etc.
  • Potassium and vitamin D values will be required on the label, while values for vitamins A and C will become voluntary. Iron and calcium will stay as required.
  • Some slight changes in Daily Values (DVs), but specifics to be announced. DV for fiber may increase slightly and for sodium may decrease slightly.
  • “% DVs” may move from the right- to the left-hand column.
  • Notably, the FDA did not pursue a front-of-pack labeling approach, although it has been widely discussed and debated.

No timeline has yet been established for implementing the proposed changes, but they are now in a 90-day comment period, during which the industry and consumers can submit comments. The FDA will then issue a final rule, after which it is expected that companies will have two years to implement the label changes.

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