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Infographic of Key Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label

Written by Beth Vessels 07 July 2015



The Canadian federal government has cooked up something sweet for its citizens—especially for those concerned about what they’re eating.


A major proposed change to nutrition labels for packaged foods (based on feedback from over 10,000 surveyed Canadians) would see all sugars grouped together in a single measurement, allowing consumers to quickly determine the total sugar content (including added sugar) in every food and drink. The change would also include a recommendation from health regulators that consumers limit their sugar consumption to 100 grams per day. That’s equal to three cans of soda, or 16 sugar cubes (represented by the middle-sized bottle of Coca-Cola below):




Credit: SugarStacks.com


In addition to this potentially historic change, here’s the full list of new features that would appear on Canadian nutrition labels. They would:


  • Regulate serving sizes to make them consistent and realistic.


  • Make it easier to find information on serving size and calories.


  • Add a footnote at the bottom of the nutrition facts table to explain how to use percent daily value (% DV).


  • Improve the labelling of sugars. A new % DV for sugars will tell Canadians whether a food has a little or a lot of sugars. In the list of ingredients, sugars will be grouped.


  • Make the ingredient list and information on allergens easier to find and read.


  • Identify food colours by their common name in the list of ingredients.


  • Allow the use of a new health claim: “A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”


To help visualize the proposed changes, here is a detailed diagram of how the new label would look:






Credit: healthycanadians.gc.ca


Even for those who don’t live in Canada, this proposition could have far-reaching effects. Here are five likely outcomes:


1. U.S. companies may begin selling Canada-specific products


Based on the United States’ history with food regulation, it’s unlikely that our government will attempt to limit our sugar intake. But because many U.S. FMCG businesses sell in Canada, they will have to either modify their offerings or develop new Canada-only products that comply with the new label regulations. This could affect business structures, and bring healthier options to the market.


2. The U.S. will face pressure from food NGOs to follow suit


The idea of reducing sugar intake to 100g per day didn’t originate in Canada, but with the World Health Organization (WHO), which actually suggested an even lower daily intake for sugars.


The sensational documentary Supersize Me managed to convince McDonald's, one of the world’s largest food companies, to change its offerings. The fast food franchise started selling salads and offering healthier alternatives. It even eliminated its “Supersize” offering. Should Canada’s proposed regulations pass, similar pressure could hit the U.S. FCMG.


3. We will gain a better sense of Daily Values


Did you know that 5% of something is “a little” and that 15% or more is “a lot?”


While adding this disclaimer to nutritional labels may not be the most comprehensive solution, sometimes these small, helpful reminders resonate most strongly with consumers. Would people start avoiding foods with more than 15% fat or sugar? Probably not in significant numbers--but it would certainly help consumers begin to recognize the content of their meals more accurately.


4. More people will start reading the “Ingredients” list


Nutrition labels list ingredients with complex and confusing chemical names, similar ingredients aren’t necessarily grouped, and the text is small, making the types of food extremely difficult to read.


The new Canadian nutrition labels would fix these issues, which could prompt more people to read the lists carefully, and in turn lead to more nutrition-conscious consumers, and a healthier society.


5. There will be more transparency in net weight and serving size


The biggest change for Canadian consumers is that the proposed nutrition labelling system will be more transparent. Part of that transparency must include an explanation (or at least a set of standards) explaining how net weight and serving size are measured.

Tagged under FDA Nutrition Label Changes health canada proposed nutrition label changes food labelss

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Breaking News: The FDA Finalizes Guidelines for the Updated Nutrition Facts FDA’s Final Ruling on New Nutrition Label Close at Hand

Written by Joomla Super User 10 November 2014
Whether you are a food manufacturer, a small startup or a food service provider, you are most likely aware of the FDA's proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label, including the proposed changes to serving sizes. The final decision will impact anyone that is required to provide nutrition facts for their product. After the announcement of the proposed changes in February 2014, there was a comment period which enabled the public to comment on the proposed changes. The comment period ended on August 1, 2014. Even with the comment period closing, there is still more to do on the FDA's proposed nutrition label changes.

Very often we receive calls from customers that are either concerned about the FDA's proposed changes or have questions about the changes. We participated in the comment period, ourselves, and voiced a concern about the proposed timeline for the industry to comply with the addition of required nutrients to the label. Like many who have commented, we sometimes wonder: did the FDA hear us and will it make a difference? Is this all we can do?

Just because the comment period ended on August 1st, interest and concern haven't. Instead of feeling helpless and irrelevant, let's start to fill the cup half way full and continue our efforts.

Bruce Silverglade, Principal Attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda (OFW), feels that being proactive is the way to go and offers ways in which we can still engage and impact the final decision. In his recent blog post Mr. Silverglade tells us, "Don't sit back and wait: Be proactive!" He explains, "Filing a comment with FDA is the first, not the last, step in participating in the development of a final regulation."

It can be of interest to know what others have submitted during the comment period. This can help shine a light on who else might share the same stance and who has an opposing perspective.

Mr. Silverglade goes on to encourage anyone in the food industry, who might have concerns, to request a meeting with Members of the House and Senate Committees. They have jurisdiction over FDA's annual appropriations, as well as leading the Members from Congressional committees that have FDA oversight responsibilities. These meetings can serve as a way to share concerns by discussing the impact as it relates to individual areas in the food industry that might be overlooked or aren't being considered merely because of a lack of awareness.

Bottom line, we can still make an impact on the final ruling and there are things that we can be doing to achieve this. Let's continue to work smart, use the available resources, agencies and organizations that are available to be heard, and just remember folks, it's not over...yet.

We are following these propsed changes closely. Check back here for breaking updates.

References:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/
http://agfdablog.com/2014/10/06/what-to-do-after-i-filed-my-comment-on-fdas-proposed-nutrition-facts-labeling-regulations/

Tagged under FDA proposed changes nutrition label FDA Nutrition Label Changes FDA regulations nutrition facts labels

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Breaking News: The FDA Finalizes Guidelines for the Updated Nutrition Facts FDA’s Final Ruling on New Nutrition Label Close at Hand

Written by Joomla Super User 10 November 2014
FDA Proposed Changes to Nutrition LabelWhether you are a food manufacturer, a small startup or a food service provider, you are most likely aware of the FDA's proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label, including the proposed changes to serving sizes. The final decision will impact anyone that is required to provide nutrition facts for their product. After the announcement of the proposed changes in February 2014, there was a comment period which enabled the public to comment on the proposed changes. The comment period ended on August 1, 2014. Even with the comment period closing, there is still more to do on the FDA's proposed nutrition label changes.

Very often we receive calls from customers that are either concerned about the FDA's proposed changes or have questions about the changes. We participated in the comment period, ourselves, and voiced a concern about the proposed timeline for the industry to comply with the addition of required nutrients to the label. Like many who have commented, we sometimes wonder: did the FDA hear us and will it make a difference? Is this all we can do?

Just because the comment period ended on August 1st, interest and concern haven't. Instead of feeling helpless and irrelevant, let's start to fill the cup half way full and continue our efforts.

Bruce Silverglade, Principal Attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda (OFW), feels that being proactive is the way to go and offers ways in which we can still engage and impact the final decision. In his recent blog post Mr. Silverglade tells us, "Don't sit back and wait: Be proactive!" He explains, "Filing a comment with FDA is the first, not the last, step in participating in the development of a final regulation."

It can be of interest to know what others have submitted during the comment period. This can help shine a light on who else might share the same stance and who has an opposing perspective.

Mr. Silverglade goes on to encourage anyone in the food industry, who might have concerns, to request a meeting with Members of the House and Senate Committees. They have jurisdiction over FDA's annual appropriations, as well as leading the Members from Congressional committees that have FDA oversight responsibilities. These meetings can serve as a way to share concerns by discussing the impact as it relates to individual areas in the food industry that might be overlooked or aren't being considered merely because of a lack of awareness.

Bottom line, we can still make an impact on the final ruling and there are things that we can be doing to achieve this. Let's continue to work smart, use the available resources, agencies and organizations that are available to be heard, and just remember folks, it's not over...yet.

We are following these propsed changes closely. Check back here for breaking updates.

References:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/
http://agfdablog.com/2014/10/06/what-to-do-after-i-filed-my-comment-on-fdas-proposed-nutrition-facts-labeling-regulations/

Tagged under FDA proposed changes nutrition label FDA Nutrition Label Changes FDA regulations nutrition facts labels

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FDA Proposed Rules for Nutrients Raises Concerns

Written by Beth Vessels 25 March 2014
nutrition label showing vitamin D, Potasium highlightedOne of the proposals set forth by the FDA earlier this month is to revise the nutrients that must be declared on a nutrition label. While the evidence and reasoning might very well support this change, the food labeling industry is concerned that the addition of the new nutrients required for labeling may cause some difficulty for food manufacturers to comply within a timely manner using a database software analysis.
This change is one a few that are categorized under ‘changes based on new nutrition science.’ Under this particular proposal, vitamin D and potassium would become newly required nutrients, along with calcium and iron – which are already required nutrients. Vitamin A and vitamin C would no longer be required nutrients on the label.
The FDA supports their proposal by explaining:
Vitamin D is important for bone development and general health among some populations which are currently inadequate in this nutrient.

Likewise, potassium is known to lower blood pressure and some populations are inadequate in this nutrient, as well.

The FDA feels removing vitamin A and C is acceptable, because current data shows that there are no deficiencies of these nutrients in populations.

The problem isn’t necessarily in making these a required nutrient, the FDA certainly makes a compelling argument. There is, however, some concern in the industry regarding the timeline for implementation.

It is not likely that you would see vitamin D & potassium data in the database for most or all foods within the 6 months that the FDA is currently proposing the industry have to prepare for the changes.

A leading software provider for database analysis nutrition labeling told us last week that they experienced a similar situation when trans fat was added as a requirement back in January 2006. They believe it will take quite some time for the USDA, manufacturers and other sources to update their nutrient data to include vitamin D and potassium – even beyond the deadline.

 

What does this mean for food manufacturers?

It could be a bumpy road when the two year compliance allowance time begins. Food companies that want to go ahead and update to the new nutrition facts label, by the way of database analysis, may have to wait until the database has been updated to include their ingredients’ vitamin D and potassium levels – which could be beyond the deadline given by the FDA.

Another option, for those companies who can’t afford to wait, could be Lab Analysis. Food nutritional analysis is more expensive and has longer turn-around compared to database analysis; however, it can determine any new required nutrients and could be a speedier alternative for those companies who don’t want to wait.

The database software company assures us that maintenance of the database is on-going and that they will update the database as quickly as possible once the FDA has finalized their ruling.

We encourage our customers to check back with us for updates on these FDA proposed changes to the nutrition facts label and once the ruling is finalized contact us. We will look into whether or not your particular ingredients have indeed been updated to include vitamin D and potassium – if this has indeed been included in their final ruling.

We’ve recently commented on this topic and you can track it on this link. Just enter this tracking number in the search box: 1jy-8b1y-z06d

Have you commented yet on the FDA’s site regarding this proposal? You should! This is a very important decision time for what will probably result in a change to the current nutrition facts label – let the FDA know your input. Here is the link: http://www.regulations.gov

Tagged under food labeling FDA proposed changes nutrition label FDA Nutrition Label Changes FDA regulations food label nutrition facts labels FDA standards food labels nutrition labeling retail food labels

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FDA Proposed Changes for Serving Size

Written by Bridget Bekrija 18 March 2014

food serving sizes changesRecently, the FDA proposed changes for serving size on Nutrition Facts Labels to better reflect new public health and scientific information. This proposed change is one of a few new proposals from the FDA regarding the content on the Nutrition Facts Label

Tagged under food labeling FDA proposed changes FDA Nutrition Label Changes FDA regulations FDA food label nutrition facts labels nutrition labeling food product labels

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