Nutrition Facts Label Changes FAQs
December 13, 2016
The first major change to the Nutrition Facts Label in over 20 years was announced by the FDA earlier this year. We’ve compiled a list of some common questions and answers related to this change as we continue to keep customers up-to-date:
It’s the first major change in over 20 years. The changes are based on updated scientific information, research and dietary recommendations.
What date does the new regulation take effect?
Manufacturers of effected food and beverage products will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply. For the effective date, products must be labeled, shipped and / or on-shelf.
Will the Nutrition panel be larger than the current format?
Yes, the new panel will be larger in width and length. The new format requires a minimum 16 point font size for the Nutrition Facts text. But, there are size stipulations based on daily value %. For example, if all core nutrients are zero, a simplified format can be used.
When will the dual column need to be used?
The mandate requires the dual column format to be used for anything with 200 – 300% of the recommended amount customarily consumed based on serving size.
Is there a document outlining the specifics of each of the formats, etc?
Yes, the fda.gov website contains specifics and label format examples to download: Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label
Will ingredients need to be altered due to these changes?
Based on the mandate of the dual panel requirement, companies may opt to reformulate or adjust their packaging based on the % of daily values being shown. Some claims and romance copy may also want to be or need to be required to be adjusted accordingly.
Will the USDA ruling effect the current regulation?
The USDA version is currently under review by the White House and no timeframe has been given for the disposition. But, the USDA has recently announced that it is proposing to amend the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products to parallel the FDA changes.
What about organic items, will they follow the same rules?
Yes, the only difference is that organic items have different requirements for what is listed / claimed.
How should a food or beverage company prepare for the changes?
There are several things to take into consideration in order to prepare for the change: updating or redesigning your labels, review of ingredients under the new guidelines, artwork approval process, maintain appropriate inventory levels, developing a timeline to make all necessary changes accordingly and work with suppliers as soon as possible to meet the compliance deadline.