Over the last couple of months, there has been a lot of talk that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to revise the nutrition facts label that comes on packaged foods. Why? Consumers and many critics have complained that the current label is confusing and needs to offer a simpler way to make a choice about whether it’s good for you or not.
The information currently found on the label includes the breakdown of fats, salts, sugars and nutrients found in the package’s contents. The FDA wants to revamp the label to give consumers more useful information, while also helping to fight the national obesity epidemic and to allow consumers to make healthier choices.
Currently, the proposed changes include: more accurate serving sizes, a greater emphasis on calories and less of a focus on the daily percent values for substances like fat, sodium and carbohydrates.
This change shouldn’t be surprising – calorie counts are popping up on menus of restaurants everywhere and the My Plate Approach replaced the food pyramid that we grew up with.
Revising the nutrition labels isn’t actually a new to-do on the government’s list; the redesign of the labels has been in the works since 2003. However, we might actually start seeing some of the changes proposed this year.
FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor says portion sizes should better reflect a consumer’s actual usage. If you currently pick up a 20-ounce soda, you’ll see that there are 2.5 servings listed. However most people drink the entire soda in one sitting. Same thing with a can of soup – if you open it up, you may eat half the can or the entire can all at once, though one serving is currently reflected as two-fifths of a can.
The FDA is also likely to find a way to emphasize calories, because so many consumers rely on this information for weight control. Other revisions may include listing information about the amount of preservatives in the food and how much processing it has undergone.
So what will these new labels look like? The FDA is still working out the details but there have been many ideas from color-coding whether or not a product is good for you using red/yellow/or green as indicators and giving nutritional values a thumbs up or thumbs down.
I’m a fan of the changes that we might see on the labels. I think the more information we as consumers receive the better. I will be interested to see what the new label looks like. What are your thoughts on the new label changes?