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Nutrition Labels: New FDA Labeling Requirements

By BLUE Software

Not to stress you out, but we are just months away from the original deadline of July 26, 2018, in which all nutrition labels must comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules.  While this deadline has been extended to Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales and Jan. 1, 2021 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales, now is the time to start modifying labels and processes.

Nutrition Labels: What will Change?

While the “iconic” look of nutrition labels will remain, nutrition label updates under the new rules ensure consumers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.  These changes include:

  • Increasing the type size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” declaration
  • Bolding the number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration to highlight this information
  • Manufacturers must declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of:
    • Vitamin D
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Potassium
  • “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value, will be included.
  • “Calories from Fat” will be removed.
  • Manufacturers can voluntarily declare the gram amount for other vitamins and minerals (like A and C).
  • The footnote is changing to better explain what percent Daily Value means; it will read: “*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”
  • Daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are being updated based on newer scientific evidence.
  • Updated Serving Sizes and Labeling Requirements for Certain Package Sizes
  • Serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating, which has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993.
  • The reference amount used to set a serving of ice cream was previously 1/2 cup but is changing to 2/3 cup.
  • The reference amount used to set a serving of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.
  • For packages that are between one and two servings:
    • The calories and other nutrients will be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting
    • For certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings: manufacturers will have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the number of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package”/“per unit” basis.

Nutrition Label Updates: How to Comply

To fulfill the new compliance requirements for nutrition labels, manufacturers will need to apply the same laser-focus and resolve one might need to achieve any other new year’s resolution. For example, you’re not going to lose 15 pounds by eliminating your daily frappuccino, but rather by improving your overall lifestyle through diet and exercise.  Similarly, successfully transitioning to the new nutrition label requirements will require a holistic approach that is best achieved with a Label and Artwork Management solution that enables new labels to be created, reviewed, approved, and integrated with label artwork in a single location – reducing errors and delays.  Specifically, a high-quality Label and Artwork Management solution will offer:

  1. Digital Asset Management functionality to easily store and retrieve updated label templates to use in your packaging artwork.
  2. Nutrition label content review workflow management that automatically routes new nutrition label information and packaging artwork for clear and timely approvals.
  3. Online proofing in a single online platform and in real time to help users automatically compare the new nutrition statements to the old while creating an auditable trail of feedback – eliminating version confusion, endless email threads, and hard copies of your label and packaging artwork assets lying around the office. Add the power to approve once and then execute approved changes across multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs), and now teams are achieving quality results at scale.

Nutrition Label Updates: Next Steps

BLUE Software can conduct audits of your operation and advise on the best way to approach the nutrition label updates.  In addition, you can download our e-book: Preparing for the New FDA Labeling Requirements to assist with this process.

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