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Food labels- out with the old?

Did you hear?  A new food label is on the horizon!  First Lady Michelle Obama and the FDA are at it again – making changes at improving healthy food choices.

Some may say, “Stay out of our business!”  But, isn’t education power?  And, you have the choice to read the label or not.

I am excited about the changes as a registered dietitian.  Why?  The label’s changes will reflect updated findings about chronic disease research.  Plus, the food label will be more user friendly and more realistic with the information we need when choosing our food. Fact: the label needed a face lift – it was 20 years old!!

What are the proposed changes?

  • Bold and large print for important information: We will see calories and servings per container larger.  This information will alert us to what we are putting in our bodies. Actual serving size will now be realistic, too.  Did you know there are two servings in a 20 ounce bottle of soda – not one? The new label makes that information easier to understand.

 

  • Added sugars listed: Currently, sugars on the food label indicate how much is in the product.  Did you know 12 grams of sugar is listed for skim milk?  That number accounts for the natural milk sugar, lactose.  Manufacturers do not add sugar to milk!  The new label clarifies what nature adds to a food compared to what a manufacturer adds.

 

  • Percent Daily Value: We see this, but what does it really mean? These goal values for potassium, Vitamin D, calcium and iron will be updated and we will have a better understanding of what are good food choices of these micronutrients.

 

  • Update on fat: “Calories from fat” confuses label readers and takes up valuable space on the label.  It is being removed.  We will still see the amounts of the various fats: saturated fat, transfat and total fat.

 

What if I have a comment?  Again, with any proposed change, we as consumers have a 90 day comment period about these proposed changes.  Feel free to voice your thoughts! It is proposed that we will see the new food label in place about two years after the comment period ends.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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