Food Labelling and Advertising regulations

Food labels contain a great deal of information on most packaged foods. The FDA has proposed updates to the current Nutrition Facts label.

Function

The serving size on the label is based on an average portion size. Similar food products have similar serving sizes to make comparing products easier. The serving size on the label does not always correlate with a healthy serving size. Most of the time, it does not match the serving size on the diabetic exchange list. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed making changes to the food labels that may correct these problems.

Amounts per Serving

The total calories and the calories from fat are listed. These numbers help consumers make decisions about fat intake. The list of nutrients includes total fat, trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fibersugars, and protein. These nutrients are important to our health. Their amounts are given in grams (g) or milligrams (mg) per serving to the right of the nutrient.

Vitamins and Minerals

Only 2 vitamins (A and C) and 2 minerals (calcium and iron) are required on the food label. But, when vitamins or minerals are added to the food, or when a vitamin or mineral claim is made, those nutrients must be listed on the nutrition label. Food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food.

Per cent Daily Value

The amounts of vitamins and minerals are listed as a per cent Daily Value on the nutrition label. The per cent Daily Value for vitamins and minerals gives a general idea of how much of a vitamin or mineral 1 serving of the food contributes to the total daily requirement. For example, if the per cent Daily Value for vitamin C of all the foods you eat in a day adds up to 100%, you are getting the recommended amount of vitamin C.