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FDA wants nutrition labels to get a makeover

Consumers examine the nutrition facts panel on milk and fruit at a grocery store on Apr. 29, 2010.
Flickr Creative Commons, USDAgov

The Food and Drug administration has decided to update the nutrition labels found on food packaging. According to a Bustle report on Jan. 24, the 20-year-old label will be modified to reflect all that we’ve learned about food since the 1990s.

What changes can we expect to see? Nutritionists are hoping to have calories more prominently displayed and add things such as amount of added sugar and percentage of whole wheat. They also want serving size to be more clear. Overall, they’d like to see nutritional information also displayed on the front of packages.

One of the biggest changes could be to the measurement type used on the label. Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the public Interest says that since most people don’t really understand what a gram is, labels aren’t effective in conveying nutritional information to everyone. One suggestion would be to have information displayed in teaspoons as well as the metric measurement.

When the label first came out in the 1990s—at Congress’s urging—there was a big emphasis on avoiding all fats. However, the different kinds of fat have since been been divided out and can either be good or bad. The label only reflected the different types of fat—trans fat and saturated fat—in 2006.

New guidelines have been sent to the White House but there’s no word on when we can expect the new labels. The FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods said that the FDA has been at work on the issue for 10 years.

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