USA labelling legislation

United States food and drug administration nutrition facts panel requirements update

In one of the largest changes to food labelling legislation in the United States of America for decades, the "iconic" Nutrition Facts Panel on food packages will have a different look from the middle of 2018, according to a final rule published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 20th May 2016.

Further to this, serving sizes have also been amended to better reflect what Americans presently eat in a normal eating occasion. This brings to an end a process that has taken place over several years to bring the panel, introduced over 20 years ago, into a format which better informs Americans about the nutritional quality of their food and better reflects the nutritional needs and eating patterns of modern day Americans. This means that over 800,000 food labels will need to be changed in the next 2 years.

What Has Changed?

Several important changes are made in the legislation that food companies will need to be aware of when updating the Nutrition Facts Panel. Some are graphical, for instance:

Calorie Declaration: The size required for the word "Calories" increases from at least 8 point to at least 16 point font, with the number of calories itself to be declared in a font no smaller than 22 point. This must be in bold or extra bold.

Serving Size: The font size required for the phrases "x servings per container" and the serving size itself from 8 point to 10 point. The statement of "Serving size" must appear in bold or extra bold.

Dual Format: It is now mandatory for foods which could be consumed in one eating occasion, even if the serving size is greater than 1 serving, to carry a dual column Nutrition Facts Panel. For instance, a 24 ounce soda is an example of such a food which may be consumed by an individual in one eating occasion, even if the stated serving size is 12 ounces. The dual column format requires manufacturers to list the nutrition information both per stated serving and per container.

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