FDA proposes changes to nutrition labels

CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP)– The Food and Drug administration has proposed changes to food nutrition labels.

20 years ago when labels were first introduced, fat was the main focus. Now, the FDA wants food labels to show a distinction between how many sugars are in the product naturally and how many were added by the manufacturer.

Holyoke Medical Center Registered Dietitian, Theresa McAndrew, told 22News that current food labels don’t do that.

“If you look at a label of milk, and you look at the label you’ll see that it has sugar in it, and people think that it’s bad sugar but its natural sugars that are in carbohydrates,” McAndrew said.

The proposal also asks for changes to the way term “serving size” is used.

The FDA says that serving sizes must be based on how much people actually eat, not based on how much they should be ideally eating.  For example, the new labeling system would change the serving size listed on ice cream containers from the current half-cup to a full cup.

And for single serve items, like bottles of soda or frozen entrees, calories will have to be listed per container, not per serving.

The new labels may also include categories named “avoid too much”  or “get enough” where so-called bad-for-you and good-for- you things would be listed.

Patty Stearley, from Chicopee, told 22News she doesn’t frequently read the nutrition labels but thinks she might if those changes go into effect.

“If I was to see something that said ‘alert’, ‘avoid’, of course I would definitely pay more attention to that, because that would gain my interest knowing that my kids are eating this, they we’re eating this, let’s make sure we know what we’re putting in our bodies,” Stearley said.

If the proposal is approved, the food industry would have two years to make the changes.

Poll Question Results:
Would more informative food labels help you make healthier eating decisions?
Yes- 53%
No- 47%

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