FDA making major changes to nutrition labels

For the first time in 20 years, the FDA is changing the nutrition labels on the back of everything you buy at the grocery store.
February 27, 2014 4:30:28 PM PST
Big changes are coming to the supermarket. For the first time in 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration is changing nutrition labels on the back of everything you buy at the grocery store. The goal is to reflect the real portions that Americans are eating.

At the White House Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the new standards.

"Our guiding principle here is simple," First Lady Michelle Obama said. "That you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into a local grocery store, pick an item off the shelf, and tell whether it's good for your family."

These are the first changes to food labels in two decades.

The changes will be noticeable. For example, the calorie count will be much more prominent. One of the biggest changes will be that "added sugars," those so-called empty calories, will be right there on the label. Nutrition experts have been pushing for that for some time.

The new labels will also take into account American's dramatically different eating habits.

"The old label was based on what people were actually eating," New York University Professor Marion Nestle said. "But that was 50 years ago, so things have changed, portion sizes have gotten much larger."

Right now a single serving of soda is considered to be 8 ounces. But who really stops there?

Going forward, a 12 ounce or even 20 ounce soft drink will be the standard. And consumers will know just how many calories they're drinking.

A serving of ice cream will increase from half a cup to the cup that we eat on average.

Who eats just half a muffin or a bagel? The new serving size will be the full thing.

The government estimates the label changes will cost food companies about $2 billion. But they'll have a few years to comply with the new standards.

For details on the new labels from the FDA, click here.


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