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Public Policy

Public Meeting on Proposed Rules to Change Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Sizes

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting on June 26, 2014 to discuss the proposed rules to revise the Nutrition Facts label and serving sizes.[1] The meeting featured an overview of the proposed rules by FDA, a panel on stakeholder perspectives with representatives from trade associations and public interest organizations, a public comment session, and a question and answer session with FDA. A few aspects of the proposed rules that received considerable attention during the meeting were the proposed added sugars declaration, the proposed formatting changes including dual column labeling, updates to the reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs ), and the proposed definition of dietary fiber.

With respect to the proposed added sugar declaration, many industry stakeholders questioned the scientific basis for indicating added sugars separately. Many also questioned whether consumers would understand the added sugars line, and in particular, would realize that “added sugars” was a component of the sugars line. Public interest organizations suggested that FDA go further with the added sugars line by creating a daily value for added sugar.

Many comments from industry, public interest groups, and the general public emphasized the need for consumer studies to support the formatting changes to the Nutrition Facts label and for comprehensive consumer education campaigns once the new labels are implemented. Many industry representatives rejected the proposed alternative format for nutrition labeling, while many public interest organizations supported the alternative format; FDA indicated it would choose one format in the final rule. Some questioned the need for revisions such as listing daily value simply as “DV” and moving the percent daily values to the left side, as these changes may confuse consumers. Many praised FDA’s work in updating RACCs, although some questioned whether the RACCs could be revised further and whether dual column labeling for 200-300% of a RACC was necessary.

Several comments raised questions about the basis for the proposed definition of dietary fiber. Some suggested adding an added fiber declaration, while others questioned the basis of the proposed definition of fiber and whether the petition process for isolated and synthetic fibers was necessary.

For a memo providing complete details of the meeting, click here. For further information regarding the proposed rules to modify the Nutrition Facts label and serving sizes, please contact us.

[1] The proposed rules were published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2014. 79 Fed. Reg. 11879; and 79 Fed. Reg. 11989.

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