Changes to Food Labels - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Changes to Food Labels

For the first time in 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing huge changes to nutrition labels on nearly every item at the grocery store.

The announcement comes as Mrs. Obama marks the fourth anniversary of her "Let's Move" campaign in the fight against childhood obesity.

The purpose of the changes is to make eating healthy easier for Americans.  It's also aimed at fighting obesity, soaring rates of diabetes and increased risks for heart disease, cancer and stroke.

"Calories" will be the most noticeable change appearing in a larger font, and the number of calories is bigger and bolded.

"People can see how many calories they're getting which are great," said Barbara Noble of Abner's Nutrition Center.

The labeling will also take into account serving size requirements to accurately reflect what people usually eat or drink in one sitting.

For example, the serving size for a bottle of soda will go from 8 ounces to 12 ounces while the service size for ice cream will increase from ½ cup to 1 cup.  On the other hand, serving size for yogurt will be reduced from 8 ounces to 6.

Two columns labeled "per serving" and "per package" will also be found on certain larger packages such as a pint of ice cream.

In an effort to curb Americans' consumption of sugar added to products, the FDA will additionally require "added sugars" to be labeled along with a list of nutrients that should be consumed such as Vitamin D and potassium.

"One thing I also liked that they are changing is they're giving the recommended daily value and the milligrams.  You're also getting the percentage of the recommended daily allowance.  There's a lot of information on there that can really make a difference in your health," said Noble.

With this announcement, the FDA has opened a 90-day comment period which will allow experts and members of the public to provide input on the proposed rules.  The FDA will then issue a final rule.  The agency hopes to complete the process this year.

Manufacturing companies will then have two years to implement the changes, so the new labels may not debut on grocery store shelves until then.

The FDA estimates it will cost the food industry $2 billion to implement these changes.  As a result, the agency predicts public health benefit to soar somewhere in between $20 billion to $300 billion.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.

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