New label will empower schools, government programs to set, meet nutritional standards
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama announced changes to the Nutrition Facts label. For the first time, Nutrition Facts will include grams of added sugars and the percent daily value of added sugars, and require portion sizes to more accurately reflect how people consume packaged foods.
“For the first time ever, we’ll be able to see clearly just how much sugar is added to processed foods, especially foods marketed to our kids,” PI’s Juliet Sims, MPH, RD, said in a statement released today. “I think people will be stunned, but--most importantly--people will finally have the information they need to make decisions for their families and to speak up for broader changes in the kinds of food that are marketed and sold in their communities.”
The science on sugar is clear: added sugars are key drivers of diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and other preventable chronic diseases. The Food and Drug Administration’s move to remake the Nutrition Facts label comes as added sugars face unprecedented public scrutiny and as grassroots movements to tax sugary drinks and curb junk food marketing gain momentum. The sugar, food and beverage industries lobbied hard against the labeling requirement, and continue to pour resources into defeating grassroots policy measures to regulate their products. Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales must use the new label by July 26, 2018; those with less than $10 million have an additional year to comply.
Labeling added sugars will empower schools, child care programs, and other government nutrition and food service programs when it comes to setting and meeting nutritional standards.
“For decades, we’ve had to work around the fact that we don’t know how much added sugar we’re dealing with,” Sims said. “So many institutions that provide meals and snacks to children and communities, such as schools, daycares and workplaces, want to support health. These new labels are going to make their ability to provide healthy food that much easier."