This year was filled with many changes in the labeling industry. If you keep up with our blog you may have seen our coverage of food allergy labels, GMO labeling, and nutrition facts label changes. With 2017 right around the corner, we have compiled a list of all of the labeling news and updates from this year as a final recap!
Food Allergy Labels
While there were no major changes to food allergy labels in 2016, there was an article published about the confusion often associated with food allergy labels. This article brought to light misconceptions surrounding allergy labels and how to use caution with phrases that speculate about what the product may contain. If you are consuming foods that may have been processed around allergens remember to use caution upon consumption.
GMO Labeling Law Update
There has been a great deal of controversy and news coverage regarding the updates with GMO Labeling Laws. It is often difficult to keep track of the difference between which laws were passed, amended, and overturned. President Obama signed S. 764 into law at the end of July which created a standard for foods made with GMOs and requires labeling of foods made with them. Although the FDA has said GMOs are safe for consumption, many individuals are still skeptical about this ingredient. There is currently a two-year time period allocated to write the standard.
Food Date Labeling Act of 2016
In addition to the labeling changes mentioned above, the Food Date Labeling Act of 2016 also brought new light to the industry. As discussed in the blog post “How Well Do We Understand Food Allergy Labels?”, there is often confusion associated with the language on these labels. In addition to the safety concerns of food label confusion, not understanding the language included also adds to food waste. The Food Date Labeling Act of 2016 aims to clarify the terms on labels that need explanation such as “sell-by,” best-by,” “use-by,” and “best before.” This Act should work to eliminate misunderstanding and help consumers make important decisions about the consumption of their food as well as when these products need to be thrown away.
Nutrition Facts Label Changes
Chances are when you pick up a package one of the first items you examine is the Nutrition Facts label. This label provides important information about the percentage of vitamins and minerals you are consuming. As covered in our blog post “New Changes for the Nutrition Facts Label,” in May it was announced that The White House collaborated with the FDA to modernize the Nutrition Facts label. There are slight changes to the design with information such as Calories increasing in font size and being bolded, and there are also alterations to the nutrient requirements. Vitamins A and C are not required while Vitamin D and potassium will be required.
Sugar Cutbacks in Dietary Guidelines
2016 brought new recommendations in regards to dietary guidelines with suggestions to cut back on sugar consumption, particularly added sugars, and for men and boys to reduce their consumption of foods that contain a great deal of protein. Monitoring food labels to better understand the ingredients you are consuming can help adhere to these standards.
Looking Ahead to 2017
This year was filled with changes regarding labels and the way consumers digest the information contained in them. We will keep our eye on the labeling trends that emerge in 2017 and share any news regarding the impact on consumers and the industry. We wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year!