Eating habits among Americans have drastically changed and this has prompted some adjustments from the FDA. A proposition to amend nutrition labeling on dietary supplements and conventional foods, the definition of a single serving container and labeling of reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs), was made on February 27.
The proposed changes aim at informing Americans about what exactly they are consuming. The incidence of obesity and related diseases is much higher and the FDA believes that giving people the right information about what they are eating will assist them in applying better eating habits.
The portions that stand out in the new rules include the prominent display of nutrition facts. The “calories” heading should change from 8 to 16 points and the number of calories will be printed in 24 points. Those are points you can hardly miss.
Daily Values for each nutrient present are to be listed to the left of the nutrition facts box. These values are obtained from the Reference Daily Intakes and Daily Recommended Values (DRVs) and will be changed as well for some specific nutrients. Declaration of nutrients has also been altered a little. It will not be mandatory to indicate calories obtained from vitamins A and C and fat but added sugars, potassium and vitamin D have to be mentioned.
It is expected that values for nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamins K and C and potassium will increase while items like chloride, copper, B vitamins, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and chromium will decrease. FDA will also redefine dietary fiber and the result could be an exclusion of most substances that are currently marked as dietary fiber on nutrition labels.
RACCs are to be revised for some foods and new categories of RACCs will be created. The FDA also proposed an amendment to the definition of a single-serving container. Some food containers may also need to adopt a dual-column nutrition label.
RACCs are to be a basic reflection of Americans’ eating habits. The current values were actually given in 1993 but with the changing eating habits, they have to be amended to suit current eating habits and practices. Items like yoghurt, fruitcake and candy will have their values reduced while values for seafood, teas and various frozen desserts will be increased.
FDA proposed changes to serving sizes of items sold as discrete units like muffins, containers that are termed as single servings and those items packed in multi-serve containers. All these changes will take effect in three or four years and anyone with comments about these amendments can submit them to FDA by June 2.
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