Changing Labels

In news that could have a far-reaching impact on the U.S. packaging industry, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday proposed changes to the nutrition labels on food packaging. The changes, which were announced by first lady Michelle Obama as a tie-in to the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move Campaign, reflect concerns about obesity and food quality that were not nearly as prevalent when the labels last were updated in the early 1990s.

The FDA plans to get input from a host of sources in the next 90 days, including manufacturers and dieticians. When the final requirements are announced, manufacturers will have two years to comply.they come from corn syrup, honey, sucrose or any other source, will be shown in one number.

The proposed changes include (but are not limited to):
• Calorie counts that are larger and easier for consumers to find.
• Grams of sugar, whether they come from corn syrup, honey, sucrose or any other source, will be shown in one number.
• Serving sizes will be changed to reflect the portions that people typically eat.

Food companies will naturally raise concerns about the cost of implementing all these changes, but they seem inevitable at this point.

“Everyone in the industry is going to be affected,” said Regina Hildwine of the Grocery Manufacturers. “Everyone in the industry is going to have to change their labels.” Converters that can anticipate the needs of their food customers in dealing with these changes will position themselves as invaluable partners as these new guidelines go into effect.


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