FDA revises proposed Nutrition Facts label rule

by Monica Watrous
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The US Food and Drug Administration has revised its proposed Nutrition Facts label rule.
New proposed updates include the per cent daily value for added sugars.

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has revised its proposed updates for the Nutrition Facts Panel on packaged foods to include the percent daily value for added sugars. The percent daily value, which indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet, would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total calories.

The proposed rule is a supplement to the March 3, 2014, proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label, under which the FDA recommended food companies include added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label, but not the declaration of the percent daily value for added sugars.

The FDA considered scientific evidence presented by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which showed it is difficult to meet nutrient needs and stay within calorie requirements if one exceeds 10 percent of total calories from added sugar. The initial proposal to include the amount of added sugars is further supported by newly reviewed studies linking lower amounts of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the FDA said.

“The FDA has a responsibility to give consumers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions for themselves and their families,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “For the past decade, consumers have been advised to reduce their intake of added sugars, and the proposed percent daily value for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is intended to help consumers follow that advice.”

Currently, the Nutrition Facts label lists the per cent daily value for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, calcium and iron. To clarify the concept of per cent daily value for consumers, the FDA also is proposing to update the footnote on the Nutrition Facts label to read: “The percent daily value ( percentDV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

The FDA is seeking public comment on the proposal for 75 days. The agency continues to review comments received on the 2014 proposed rule and is reopening the comment period on its March 2014 proposal for 60 days to invite comment on two consumer studies related to label formats. The FDA will consider comments on the original and supplemental proposed rule before issuing a final rule.

“Consumers can still choose foods that have added sugars as part of a healthy diet, but the proposed daily value would provide a benchmark for intake,” Mayne said. “Without information like this about a nutrient, it’s hard to know if you’re eating too much or too little in a given day. For example, a consumer who drinks a 20-oz sugared beverage may be surprised to know it contains about 66 grams of added sugar, which would be listed on the label as 132 percent of the daily value.”

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