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Food labels get FDA overhaul to help fight diabetes, obesity

Food labels would be overhauled under a new FDA proposal.
FDA

Food labels, also called nutrition labels or the Nutrition Facts Label, may get their first big overhaul in 20 years as the FDA attempts to fight back against diabetes and obesity, Reuters reported on Feb. 27.

The revised food labels are big news because they would display calorie counts in larger type, set realistic food portions and include the amount of added sugar. The revised food labels are still in the proposal stage by the Food and Drug Administration, which announced the plans to revise the nutrition labels on Thursday in conjunction with First Lady Michelle Obama.

The FDA will hold a 90-day public comment period on the food labels, after which it will draw up the final rules for the food labels. Companies would then have two years to comply with the new food labels.

The proposal would bring food labels into compliance with the science of nutrition and help reduce confusion about what qualifies as healthful food, the Washington Post said.

The food industry estimates that the cost of implementing the new food labels will amount to about $2 billion, the New York Times reported.

However, proponents of the new nutrition labels say that the changes will benefit consumers, and public health experts lauded the coming changes on the food labels. For instance, while food labels already must show the amount of sugar in packaged products, the new nutrition labels would have to show the amount of added sugar, which includes corn syrup, concentrated juice and white and brown sugar.

The Nutrition Facts Label was introduced in 1993 and was based on science dating from the 1970s and 1980s, the FDA says.

The main goal of the proposed changes to food labels is to help consumers make better eating choices and shift the emphasis away from telling them what they should be eating.

You can read more about the proposed changes for nutrition labels on the FDA Nutrition Facts Label website.