WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the Nutrition Facts Panel to inform consumers about their food. Trans fat remains on the label to verify the safety of a product at zero per cent. As nutrients that consumers are deficient in, potassium and vitamin D have been added to the Daily Value list.
Serving size was altered so that it’s based on the amount of food that people are actually eating instead of what they should be eating. Some items’ serving sizes have been upped, lowered or kept the same. Most snacks will not change, but bakery products could be affected.
“It certainly does impact several of the hybrid products, which could be your mini muffins, bagels and more,” said Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of government relations and public affairs and corporate secretary, American Bakers Association. “The serving size has increased, so that certainly can be impactful with consumers’ perception of the product.”
Common questions to F.D.A. are why some serving sizes will be bigger when the United States has concerns about obesity or if certain nutrients should be excluded. But perhaps the more important question through the label refashioning is whether consumers will actually read it.
Out of 1,244 participants, the 2014 F.D.A. Health and Diet Survey reported that 16% always, 34% most of the time, 27% sometimes, 12% rarely and 10% never look at the label before buying a food product. And when asked the primary reason for not using the Nutrition Facts Label, 52% of participants said they didn’t feel they needed to use it, and 28% said they didn’t have the time.
In the past four years, as the current clean label and transparency trend becomes more popular, perhaps these numbers have changed, but many industry leaders are anxious to know how the new labeling regulation will affect consumers’ actions and are willing to help with the education process.
“What really is needed is the education of consumers to turn their product over and look at the full information,” Ms. Sanders said. “At this point, there’s a great opportunity for us all to work together for the betterment and education of consumers.”