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FDA Announces Compliance Dates for New Nutrition Facts Labeling Requirements

In 2016, FDA published new requirements for food nutrition labeling that significantly change the appearance of the Nutrition Facts panels and the information required to be declared on the label. FDA provided time for companies to implement the changes and recently announced the dates by which food products marketed in the US must comply with the new requirements.

The new requirements include changes to the format of the Nutrition Facts panel, rounding rules for the nutrient values, and the Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) used to calculate the %Daily Values (%DVs). For example, the old RDI for Total Carbohydrate was 300g and the new RDI is 275g. So if a food contains 10g of Total Carbohydrate per serving, the original %DV was 10/300 = 3%. But under the new RDI, the %DV is now 10/275 which rounds to 4%.

Also, you must now declare Added Sugars in addition to Total Sugars. For example, if the product is a fruit juice that contains 30g of Total Sugar per serving, but only 20g of sugar per serving naturally occurs in the juice (the remaining 10g is added to the product), then you would need to declare 30g of Total Sugar and 10g of Added Sugar in the Nutrition Facts panel.

The new rule also requires that the amounts of the vitamins and minerals be declared in the Nutrition Facts panel in addition to their %DVs. For example, a product containing 10mg of iron should now declare 10mg as the amount in addition to the %DV which would be 60%. Furthermore, Potassium and Vitamin D must now be declared in addition to Calcium and Iron. Vitamin A and C are no longer mandatory nutrients (unless the label includes a claim about the nutrient e.g. “good source of Vitamin C”).

In addition, several new formatting requirements for the Nutrition Facts panel are now in place. These include new minimum font sizes, positioning of bars and text, etc. The required footnote has also been changed to “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

For manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales, the compliance date is January 1, 2020. For manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales, the compliance date is January 1, 2021. Remember, FDA may not be enforcing these new requirements until the above dates, but the requirements are now in effect. That means you should now be adjusting your nutrition labeling to follow the new requirements!

Always remember that labels are usually the first thing FDA officials see when they examine your product. Contact FDA Specialist today to ensure your food labels comply with the new requirements and prevent FDA charges for labeling violations that can be easily avoided!

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Richard Chiang worked for the FDA for 13 years beginning as a field investigator and entry reviewer and later worked at the FDA’s headquarters Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)

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