FDA Research Shows Need For Updated Nutrition Label

Posted on January 24, 2013

We’ve all grown accustomed to following the Nutrition Facts label on food when deciding what to purchase.  But the Food and Drug Administration believes that the label is due for an update, and they plan to introduce a rule that would require food manufacturers to follow new guidelines when it comes to what they put on that label.

One of the big distinctions that a new label might make is between a serving and an entire bag.  Many products containing a couple different servings are in fact eaten all at once by consumers.  So a bag of chips might have a listed calorie count pertaining to one serving whereas the entire bag contains far more calories than that single serving.  Consumers are thus forced to figure out calorie counts of their own accord, and this confusion might lead to health threats over time.

When determining whether an update was indeed necessary, the FDA’s Obesity Working Group put together a study that aimed to figure out whether consumers understood the nutritional information and if changes to the label could cut down on confusion.  Researchers put together labels that offered side by side comparisons of servings versus packaging totals, as well as labels that only detailed the nutrition of the entire package.  It turns out that consumers were far more apt to understand the level of fat and other substances when the entire package was described, not just one serving.

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