Mandatory for exports of food products to the US to put new labels

If you are exporting food products to the US, you must know that it has been made mandatory by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put new labels on food products in the U.S. The changes have been made with an aim to keep the end consumer better informed about details of the food that she and her family eats so as to enable them to make healthier choices.

With nearly 40 percent of American adults falling under obese category, which increases the chances of heart diseases, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes, the new label specifications have been designed more scientifically to provide greater understanding of the links between diet and chronic disease. They enable a person or her family in counting calories by putting up details like the calories, the number of servings and the serving size in larger, bolder type.

The new label specifications adjusts serving size requirements to reflect more recent consumption data, thus making the nutrition information provided for each serving more realistic. For packages that contain more than one serving, nutrition information per serving as well as per package will be available; thereby meaning while calories and nutrients are listed for one serving of ice cream, the same will also be listed for the entire container.

The new label design specifications also make it mandatory to specify the added sugars content, keeping in mind the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which recommends consumption of less than 10 per cent of calories per day from added sugars for the U.S. citizens.


Additionally, the daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin D have been updated and are used to calculate the % Daily Value (DV), printed on the label. The % DV helps a person understand the nutrition information in the context of a daily diet. The footnote at the bottom of the label also explains the meaning of the % DV.

Specifications regarding information related to calories from fats have been removed in the new label design. This has been done in the light of new research as per which the type of fat consumed is more important than total fats. For example, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in most vegetable oils and nuts, can reduce the risk of developing heart disease when eaten in place of saturated and trans fats.

The list of nutrient requirements too has been updated to include Vitamin D and Potassium because it has been found that the Americans normally lack adequate presence of these nutrient; Conversely, listing Vitamins A and C is no longer required, because deficiencies in these vitamins are not common, but the manufacturers of food products can still list them voluntarily.

Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales have until 2020 before the new label becomes mandatory, and manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have to comply to new; regulations by 2021. Some manufacturers have already started using the new label. Due to this, presently two different versions on labels can be seen on packages in the shelves of departmental stores.

As per FDA claims, the new label design has been prepared keeping the latest scientific findings pertaining to requirement of right nutrients for the body to function correctly and to fight chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, certain cancers, and type II diabetes.

Leave a comment

Subscribe To Newsletter

Stay ahead in the dynamic world of trade and commerce with India Business & Trade's weekly newsletter.