Co.Design

FDA Proposes New Nutritional Label

A new design recalculates serving size and places more emphasis on calories and added sugar.

The Food and Drug Administration today proposed significant changes to the nutritional labels that appear on packaged food--the first big changes since the labels were added 20 years ago.

Calorie counts and servings appear more prominent, with larger text. And the serving sizes themselves are adjusted to reflect realistic amounts. A 20-ounce soda, for example, is currently calculated as 2.5 servings, but in the new calculation, it's a single serving.

A few stats are added or removed; the "calories from fat" line, which was confusing, is gone, and in its place you see "added sugars," referring to the amount of sweetener added in addition to the other ingredients. The percent daily values are moved to the left, making them more prominent.

The changes are not nearly as extreme as some of the conceptual redesigns we've seen before. There's been a long-simmering debate about how food labels should look, and whether the design can have a significant effect on public health. We imagine some will argue that this proposed design doesn't go far enough, but it's still likely to face opposition from food manufacturers during the next 90 days, when it will be open for public discussion. In exchange, the Obama administration is giving manufacturers two years to comply with the new design.

Stay tuned to Co.Design for updates on this story.

[via The New York Times]

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