Label Changes

Your Comprehensive Guide to the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Panels

Label Changes Booklet Inside Example

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed the regulations for the nutrition and supplement facts panels in order to combat some of the health problems in the country and provide people with better nutrition information. Its goal is “to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.”

In addition to material covered in the regulation itself, FDA has also responded to questions and comments from the public. The federal register publication is over 200 pages long, and much of the regulation interpretation can be found in FDA responses to comments.

While the media has focused mostly on the sweeping changes to sugars and fibers in the nutrition facts panels, there are also significant changes to the recommended daily intakes for vitamins and minerals.

A draft guidance published in January of 2017 answers twenty questions about compliance dates, added sugars, and the declaration of quantitative amounts of vitamins and minerals. Other regulations will need to be updated based on the final ruling, “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.” FDA has said that these other regulations will be updated at a later date.

The Food and Drug Administration released a technical amendment that amends Section 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) by correcting errors in labeling examples, restoring missing information, updating cross-references and revising Appendix B of part 101. The amendments were technical in nature. Therefore there was no comment period, and the final rule went into effect on December 21, 2018.

This guide covers the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that the nutrition label changes are based on. It then details the changes in daily values for nutrients and describes the changes to the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label regulations.

The National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) collects data on the dietary patterns of consumers and combines this data with scientific evidence to create Dietary Reference Intake reports (DRI). There are four categories of these reports.

Estimated Average Requirement (EAR)

The EAR is the median nutritional requirement for an individual. This is estimated to meet the requirements of half of the population. Statistically, the EAR is the center of the bell curve of the nutrient needs for all individuals in a population, and is used to calculate statistical probabilities.

Adequate Intake Levels (AI)

The AI is a less formal and complete EAR. When the NAM does not have enough data to calculate a full EAR, it uses the available information to calculate an AI.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

The RDA is the intake estimated to meet the needs for 97-98% of the population, and is calculated statistically from the EAR plus twice the standard deviation.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)

The UL is the highest average daily intake where an individual is expected to see no adverse effects.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are developed jointly by the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The DGA recommends dietary patterns and quantitative intake for macro- and micronutrients to the US population. The last DGA is based on the 2010 NAM data; the label changes are based off that report. The DGA also released an interim report in 2015, from which FDA took information about added sugars for use in planning the label changes. The next full DGA is scheduled to come out in 2020.

Daily Values

FDA daily values are based on the recommendations made by the DGA and information from the NAM. Nutrients appear on the nutrition facts panel in percent daily values based on a 2,000 or 1,000 calorie diet. Daily values are not precise requirements for individuals but are to be used as a general guide.

There are two categories of daily values: Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) and Daily Reference Values (DRVs). RDIs are the daily values for small components like vitamins and minerals. DRVs are either for nutrients to limit, like sodium and cholesterol, or they are for nutrients with recommended levels based on specific calorie intakes such as fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber – the macronutrients.

DVs vs. RDAs

Many different terms are used to refer to either the amount of a nutrient you should consume or the amount of a nutrient in a food or dietary supplement. Two of the most common are the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and the Daily Value (DV).

RDAs are recommended daily intakes of a nutrient for healthy people. This is the amount of a nutrient such as a vitamin or mineral that you need to consume each day to maintain health. The RDAs were developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. They vary by age and gender. There are also specific RDAs for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Therefore there are several different RDAs for each nutrient.

The DVs were established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They were designed to be used on food and dietary supplement labels. Unlike RDAs, there is one DV for each nutrient for all people ages 4 years and older. DVs are not recommended intakes. DVs indicate how much of a nutrient is in a serving of food or a dietary supplement in the context of a total daily diet. DVs often match or exceed the RDAs for most people, but not in all cases.

DVs are shown on food and supplement label as a percentage. This allows consumers to easily compare one product to another in terms of nutrient values.

DVs are shown on food and supplement label as a percentage. This allows consumers to easily compare one product to another in terms of nutrient values. For example, the DV for Iodine is 150 mcg. If a product label says it contains 10% of the DV for Iodine it would contain 15 mcg. If another product said it contained 20% of the DV for Iodine, it is easy to see that the second product contains twice as much Iodine(30 mcg.)

2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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Daily Value Changes

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The Food Nutrition Label

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What Food and Beverage Manufacturers Need to Know

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Other Topics

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Summary of Nutrition Label Changes

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