The proposed rule changes for nutrition label facts have been put off for some time. Those rules finally went into effect on January 1, 2020 for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. If you have less than $10 million in annual food sales, you have until January 1, 2021.
Manufacturers of most single-ingredient sugars such as honey and maple syrup and certain cranberry products have until July 1, 2021, to make the changes. (Some flavored dried cranberry manufacturers have until July 1, 2020 to make the changes.)
During the first 6 months of 2020, the FDA plans to work cooperatively with manufacturers to meet the new Nutrition Facts label requirements. They will not focus on enforcement actions. So if you haven’t made your changes yet, now is the time to start doing it!
There are four major changes to the nutrition label facts panel.
Serving sizes are more realistic and the text is bolder and more prominent. In addition, if your package holds between 1-2 servings, you must display serving size information for the entire package. If the package has between 1-3 servings, but the customer could eat the contents of the entire container in one sitting (think pint of ice cream), the nutrition panel must have information on both the single serving and the entire package.
The calorie count is easily the biggest and boldest text on the panel. It’s easy to find and to read. You no longer need to display the amount of calories from fat, as the FDA believes that the type of fat (trans fat, saturated fat, etc.) is more important than the calorie count of that fat, and that information is broken out further down the label.
Added Sugars Info
You must now note any added sugars on the nutrition panel. This includes sugars added during processing or packaging, and includes syrups, honey, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. The sugars must be listed in both grams and as a percentage of the daily value.
Mandatory Nutrients Changed
Calcium and Vitamin D replace Vitamin A and Vitamin C as mandatory in the nutrient section. Consumers are generally not deficient in A or C, but may be in D or calcium. The amounts must be posted in both amount (milligrams or micrograms) and as a percentage of the daily value.
The footnote has been slightly modified as well, so that it’s more understandable. The FDA has shared sample nutrition label facts panel layouts.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you labeled and sealed your packages prior to January 1, you don’t have to change those labels. But going forward, you do need to update the nutrition panel. If your nutrition panel is part of your product label, the FDA allows you to place an updated sticker over the old panel – as long as it doesn’t cover other required info and doesn’t come off during normal shipping and handling.
For this, we recommend our affordable labels. They’re inexpensive, and you can order white gloss “blockout” material that will cover the old panel completely. We have a number of customers who order separate labels for the front of their product (say, in full color or some other, more expensive process) and their nutrition panels from our affordable line. It really makes these sorts of changes easy.