Shoppers Soon to See Changes on Nutrition Facts Labels

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
June 15, 2016

Shoppers will soon be seeing changes to the Nutrition Facts Labels found on thousands of food items.

Kansas State University Research and Extension nutrition specialist Sandy Procter says the new labels will make it easier for consumers to make decisions on what they buy. Some of the additions that The Food and Drug Administration will be including on the new nutrient labels are an update of the nutrients displayed, serving sizes more in line with modern eating habits, and an added sugars column.

“To say, okay, this is what I want because it has less of this, more of this…it’s a healthier choice for me, and I am no longer just going by the pretty colors or the picture on the label,” explained Procter. “I can make the decision about what’s best for my health. 

Other changes include making the total calories easier to see and read on packaging. It will also require any food item that can be consumed in one or multiple settings, such as a bag of chips, to have dual labeling that displays the amount of calories and food nutrients on a per serving and per package basis.

Procter says if consumers buy a bag of chips because it looks like a single serving bag, that second column is now going to tell them that if they eat the whole bag that’s considered three servings and this is how many calories they’re consuming.

“So ignorance may be bliss, but it is going to be more difficult to be ignorant about how much we are consuming.,” she said. “And that’s really the whole point.”

The new labeling rules won’t take effect for most food and grocery manufacturers until 2018. Smaller businesses with less than 10-million dollars in sales will have until 2019 to implement the changes.

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