nutrition labelThe Food and Drug Administration is now reviewing thousands of public comments as it considers changes to Nutrition Facts labels that for the first time in two decades would alter the information consumers see on many packaged foods.

The proposed FDA changes were introduced in February and seek to update the nutrition information and label design, as well as the serving size information. It would require food manufacturers to list added sugars, nutrition counts for more-realistic portion sizes and total nutrition information for multiple servings of food within a single package.

The government also wants to require potassium and vitamin D to be listed.

Michael Landa, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement that the new nutrition label will help Americans better understand what is in their food.

“Obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases are leading public health problems. The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems,” Landa said. “Further, we are now proposing to require the listing of added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing calories from added sugars and solid fats.”

The AHA has already lauded the FDA’s proposed labeling changes.

“Eating healthy is a habit all Americans need to have, and the FDA’s proposed new nutrition labels will help put that goal within reach,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said after the FDA’s announcement in February. “By arming consumers with more knowledge about nutritional content, calories and serving sizes, this new labeling information takes an important step toward improving the health of all Americans.

As of Aug. 1, the FDA has been reviewing the thousands of public comments it received on the matter. It’s not clear when an announcement will be made.

Earlier this week, the FDA said it was enforcing a new rule defining the use of the term “gluten free” on packaged foods in order to help protect people who have celiac disease and cannot ingest gluten.

For more information: