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FDA issues nutrition label guidance

November 09, 2018

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 2 issued new guidance to help manufacturers comply with two final rules updating the Nutrition Facts label.

The first guidance, which is still in draft form, centers on serving sizes and labeling.

“Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion, Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed, Serving Size-Related Issues, Dual-Column Labeling, and Miscellaneous Topics: Guidance for Industry,” includes information on:

  • What’s considered a single-serving container.
  • Serving size references.
  • Dual-column labeling.
  • Other issues including requirements “relating to chewing gum and to multi-unit retail food packages.”

The second guidance, “Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals: Guidance for Industry” is final and is designed to “help manufacturers determine how to calculate added sugars in their products and also explains compliance, label formats, and how to declare quantitative amounts of vitamins and minerals,” FDA said.

For years, the ADA has encouraged consumers to monitor and minimize their added sugar intake.

Beginning in 2014, the ADA successfully lobbied to have “added sugars” declared separately from “sugars” as a whole on Nutrition Facts labels, and also to include “naturally occurring sugars that are isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component (e.g., fruit juice concentrates)” in the definition of “added sugars.” In May 2015, the Association filed comments on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which served as the basis for developing the new guidelines. In November 2015, the ADA House of Delegates formally endorsed the World Health Organization’s recommendation to limit added sugar consumption to less than 10 percent of daily caloric intake. 

The FDA’s updated labeling regulations go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until 2021 to comply.

For more information about the new labels, visit FDA.gov. For more information about the ADA’s advocacy efforts on nutrition, visit ADA.org/nutrition.