The FDA is Making Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label
From the Wall Street Journal
The Food and Drug Administration said a new nutrition-facts panel on the back of packaged food and beverages will list how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers, and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum that represents.
The FDA’s decision to break out added sugar from the total sugar count already on packaging comes amid a yearslong campaign by the Obama administration to curb obesity, diabetes and other ailments. The new sugar rules have faced opposition from food and beverage companies, which say there is no difference between naturally present sugars and added sugars.
The FDA estimates that implementing the change will cost the food and beverage industry roughly $500 million a year, while providing approximately $2 billion annually in benefits such as reduced health costs, over 20 years. A study commissioned by several industry trade groups based on an earlier proposal found the label changes would result in a total net cost of at least $640 million. Economist John Dunham, who led the study, said the FDA accounted for far more benefits than are realistic.
Manufacturers have two years to comply with the new regulation, though they could still challenge the changes in court. Those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have three years.
The new label regulations don’t apply to certain meat, poultry and processed-egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the FDA.
Among other changes, manufacturers also will be required to declare the amounts of potassium and vitamin D because the FDA says Americans aren’t getting enough of them. Manufacturers will no longer be required to list vitamin A and vitamin C because most people do. The new panels also will require some companies to change the serving sizes they list on the back of the package. Ice cream labels, which can now show half a cup as one serving, will list two-thirds of a cup as a serving, increasing the calorie count that appears on the label by a third.