February 27th, 2014
12:01 AM ET
9 years ago

Nutrition labels to get makeover for first time in 20 years

Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is hoping to make healthy eating easier for Americans by announcing a makeover for all nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods.

The Food and Drug Administration’s proposed new rules would be the first upgrade in 20 years and would include changing the serving size and updating the recommended daily guidelines for various nutrients.

The guidelines will be announced on Thursday by first lady Michelle Obama in an event at the White House.

She has long been focused on getting Americans to have healthier eating habits.

“Folks are really starting to think about what they eat and how active they are, so they're scrutinizing labels; they're asking questions; they're changing what they feed their families,” Mrs. Obama said earlier this week.

The new rules, which would go into effect two years after they are finalized, are redesigned to make it clearer for Americans to know how many calories they are consuming.

The labeling will also take into account how some foods are consumed in one sitting.

For example, the serving sizes for a bottle of soda will go from 8 ounces to 12 ounces. And the serving size for ice cream will increase from ½ cup to 1 cup. For yogurt, the serving size will be reduced from 8 ounces to 6.

Certain larger packages, such as a pint of ice cream, would also have two columns on the labels- “per serving” and “per package”.

Another addition is the requirement of “added sugars” to the label. The FDA hopes to curb Americans’ consumption of sugar added to products.

Joy Dubost, a registered dietician with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, supports the new regulations.

“Before you saw total carbohydrates and sugars; now you're actually going to know how many grams of sugar or added grams of sugar are in that product," Dubost told CNN. "So basically it differentiates between naturally occurring sugars in a product and those that are added to a product."

The announcement comes as Mrs. Obama marks the fourth anniversary of her “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity. A new study using federal data says obesity in young children ages 2 to 5 has dropped 43% in the past decade.

While experts say those numbers are promising, there is still more work to do.

“We're not certain what's driven the decrease in childhood obesity and we're far from out of the woods. We do know there have been a number of things going in the right direction,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “There's increased attention to childhood nutrition. There's increased breastfeeding rates. Child cares are doing more physical activity.”

-CNN’s Athena Jones contributed to this report.

Filed under: FDA • Health care • Michelle Obama • White House
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    USA is too much red mead, fat, junk. So only a lot more perverts..

    February 27, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Instead of outrage over this change, could Fox viewers just ignore the nutrition labels like they did in the past? We are all waiting to hear from Hannity how this is communism, and that he can' take it anymore.

    February 27, 2014 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  3. salty dog

    With that kind of money, you could change the world, and they do. Why not try to help you fellow man, but they would rather spend to enslave you. That kind of power is evil.

    February 27, 2014 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  4. Winning

    Well, because it's coming from the Obamas, the right wing nut jobs will be apoplectic over this, but how can anyone see the harm in doing this? Making it easier to see from a glance what one is ingesting seems only like a good idea to me. This is one of those areas where government can do some good.

    Well... have at it, right wing nut jobs.

    February 27, 2014 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Folks are really starting to think about what they eat and how active they are, so they're scrutinizing labels
    I've always been extremely skeptical of the "low-fat" and "no-fat" labels.
    How do we know there's no fat in the product? Seriously.
    With the almighty dollar buying politicians and darn near elections whose to say that some big company is not paying off the FDA or whoever is responsible to slap a particular set of grams or no-grams of fat or carbohydrates.
    Okay, maybe skeptical is not the right word so much as paranoid might be....
    Just ruminating out loud folks.

    February 27, 2014 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    This is good!! Put out the information in easy-to-understand language and format. Leaves the decision up to the consumer, where it belongs. Far better than trying to legislate portion sizes a la the ex-mayor of NYC.

    February 27, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  7. EDDIE

    But this is a regulation and we all know that will cost jobs.

    February 27, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |