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Consumer Updates: Nutrition Facts Label: Proposed Changes Aim to Better Inform Food Choices

For Related Articles and More Information, Please Visit OCA's Health Issues Page.

A lot has changed in the American diet since the Nutrition Facts label was introduced in 1993 to provide important nutritional information on food packages.

People are eating larger serving sizes. Rates of obesity, heart disease and stroke remain high. More is known about the relationship between nutrients and the risk of chronic diseases.

So the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes bringing this familiar rectangular box-which has become one of the most recognized graphics in the world-up to date with changes to its design and content.

"Obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases are leading public health problems," says Michael Landa, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems. Further, we are now proposing to require the listing of added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing calories from added sugars and solid fats."

Jessica Leighton, Ph.D., senior nutrition science and policy adviser in FDA's Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, and Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., a health scientist at FDA, explain what you can expect to see if the proposed changes are enacted.

"The goal is to make people aware of what they are eating and give them the tools to make healthy dietary choices throughout the day," says Leighton.   

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