Food labels

Farm Forum

Recently the Food and Drug Administration or FDA launched its proposed changes to Nutrition Facts labels on packaged foods. The proposed changes are intended to more accurately reflect the nutritional value and calorie content of packaged foods. The changes were published in the Federal Register on March 3 and will be open for public comment for 90 days before final rulemaking and implementation.

The proposed changes represent the first major overhaul of food-nutrition labeling in 20 years. The first thing consumers will notice is greater emphasis on calories and serving size. The new labels will make the total calorie count for a serving of food more prominent by using larger and bolder type and listing the amount of calories per serving size. They will also more clearly show the serving size which will be updated to reflect today’s eating habits. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what they should be eating.

In addition, the rules would also update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared on food labels. For the first time, “Added Sugars” will be included since, on average, Americans eat 16% of their daily calories from sugars added during food production. Second, calories from fat will no longer be listed. Instead, the kinds of fat, including total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat will be required. Next, FDA’s proposed changes will update the Daily Values of various nutrients and move that information to the left of the label, helping consumers visually and quickly put nutrient information in context. Finally, the new labels will require the amounts of potassium and Vitamin D to be listed. Vitamin D because it is important for healthy bones, and potassium because it helps lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.

The primary goal of the FDA’s proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label is to expand and highlight the information consumers need most when making food choices, particularly those with certain health issues such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular health. FDA is dividing the proposed changes into two proposed rules, one that would update the nutrition information based on nutrition science and the label design to highlight important information, and the second to cover the changes to serving size requirements and labels for certain package sizes. To comment on either or both rules, please visit FDA’s official docket at

We encourage all South Dakota beef producers to get involved by joining the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association. To learn more about SDCA or to join online, please visit