Just the “Nutrition” Facts, Ma’am!

Okay, we couldn’t resist. You don’t have to be Joe Friday to figure out the 2016 Nutrition Facts Label (NFL) Update, but it’s not quite yet ‘plug and play’ either.  Getting current with the new NFL format is still a little confusing.  As of September 8, 2016, the FDA website does not have a clear set of guidelines to download.

However, the information is there and if you’re determined, you can comply sooner than later, which could save you time and money down the road. We've created a PDF of the highlights to share with your team if you'd like, or keep reading for a few tips to get you there:

1. Key Dates for Manufacturers

First, the important dates to keep in mind:

  • Final Rule issued: May 27, 2016
  • Effective Date: July 26, 2016
  • Compliance Date (Folks with annual sales = $10MM+): July 26, 2018
  • Compliance Date (Folks with annual sales < $10MM): July 26, 2019

2. What's Changed?

Though the overall look has not changed, there are enough significant differences that prevent the simple transfer of numbers from an old NFL to the new NFL. Why? New data required, of course! This new data will require some homework on Manufacturer’s side to work with co-packers and/or compliance professionals to reevaluate nutritional information provided to internal and external graphic teams.

Servings per Container

Certain packages are now considered 1 serving when they used to be more; the client needs to confirm this.

Added Sugars

this had been quite the battle for some in the industry, but this new line is now required, along with a percent Daily Value (DV).

New Vitamins & Details

Vitamin D and Potassium have bumped vitamins A & C to be voluntary; and in addition, the new 4 required nutrients (Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D and Potassium) need to list both their actual amount as well as their percentages.

Dual Column?

Certain products larger than a single serving will now be required to employ the dual column format to show per serving as well as per package.

Please beware: all NFL formats (there are still about 9 basic types) are now different, including the most “basic” of them, the Linear format boasting at least 4 different type sizes- bonus! All said, though, this is not a reinvention of the Nutrition Facts Label, but an update. So, many “old” rules still apply.

3. Where do I start?

With grit and determination, you have decided to dig deeper. Nicely done! Some helpful links:

And if and when questions persist, try contacting someone from:
Nutrition Assessment and Evaluation Team
Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740-3835
Main Tel: 240- 402- 2373 | Fax: 301- 436- 2639
We found the folks at the FDA to be very receptive, helpful and informative. Happy back of pack labeling!