June 29, 2016
Susan Mayne, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Pkwy
College Park, MD 20740
Dear Dr. Susan Mayne:
As leaders in the obesity research, treatment and prevention community, we are pleased to commend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its new nutrition facts label. The updated label is an important step in the right direction to provide consumers with accurate and easily obtainable information about the foods they eat and purchase for their families.
This new label is an important tool in the tool box for Americans struggling with obesity and its health risks, like diabetes and heart disease, as they work to make educated food choices. The key changes to the label provide consumers with science-based information that more accurately reflects the nutrition value of the food. The label changes for serving size, servings per container, calorie count and added sugar will benefit consumers seeking accurate information. In particular:
- The larger, bolder font emphasizing the calories, servings per container and serving size will improve consumers’ ability to quickly comprehend the label information.
- Packages with 1-2 servings will now include nutrition information on the entire food or beverage instead of per serving, giving people a more accurate nutrition picture.
- The new category for added sugar, which identifies the specific amount of extra sugar added to foods and beverages by food manufacturers, will provide people with a more accurate picture of what they are ingesting.
The undersigned obesity organizations have long supported these changes, some of whom have provided the FDA with comments in favor of updating the nutrition label in 2014 when the FDA began work, including TOS and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. We applaud the FDA for recognizing the important need to provide consumers with accurate nutrition information and we encourage continued efforts.
Looking forward, an important next step in the evolution of food labels is addressing statements on the front of food packages (FOP), as that truly draws the consumer’s eye. Recent research has shown FOP labels draw greater attention from consumers to nutritional information, particularly those in color.
We appreciate the opportunity to share our feedback and will continue to work to educate our members and the public about the new label. As we work to improve the health of people with obesity, we hope the new nutrition label will play a role in helping people make informed food decisions.