Take a look at the nutrition facts label on your breakfast cereal. Do you notice anything different? On January 1, 2020 manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales were required to switch to a new (updated) label. Smaller manufacturers have a little more time to change. 

The general look and location of the nutrition facts label should be the same. Highlights of the changes to the label, provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), include:

  • The size of these words,“Calories”, “servings per container,” and “Serving size”, are bigger and the number of calories and the “Serving size” label are also bolded to highlight this information and ensure it’s easy to see and read.
  • The actual amount, in addition to the percent Daily Value, must be included for vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. 
  • The meaning of percent Daily Value is explained better. It will now read, “*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to the daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”
  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value will now be included on the label.
  • Amounts of Vitamin D and potassium are now required on the label. Vitamins A and C are no longer required but can be included on a voluntary basis.
  • “Calories from Fat” was removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
  • Daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D have been updated based on new scientific evidence.  Daily values are amounts of nutrients to consume or not exceed in a day and are used to calculate percent Daily Value.
  • By law, serving size must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should eat. How much people eat has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. For example, a serving of ice cream was ½ cup and is now 2/3 of a cup and a serving of soda was 8 ounces and is now 12 ounces.
  • For certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings, manufacturers have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the amount of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package”/”per unit” basis. With the dual column labels available, people can more easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time.

Sources: Food and Drug Administration

Submitted by: ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin

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