New FDA Standards Good for Organic Producers

organics Since it was introduced in the mid-90s, the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of packaged foodstuffs has become an instantly recognizable icon of FDA oversight. Millions rely upon this simple square to inform their nutritional decisions, and reassure them that the food they purchase is safe to eat. What few know is that it might be changing. In response to all the new discoveries in nutrition science that have been made in the last 20 years, the FDA is fighting to introduce a new panel with an updated design, which will be required on all edible products. 1. Design Changes As broken down by Boston-based digital media company BostInno, there are a few crucial differences in the new label. First and foremost, the size of the font for calorie information has been more than doubled, rendering it far more prominent at a glance. The FDA’s stated goal with the change is to combat what they see as the leading cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States: too many calories in inactive diets. Other big changes are the introduction of an “added sugars” line as well as more detailed percentage information regarding carbohydrate intake. While sugars still do not have a percent daily value, the FDA hopes that it will be easier for Americans to judge how many of their carbohydrates do and should come from sugar. 2. Who Benefits? While the effect these new labels will have for the average American are as of yet unknown, one big winner is the organic food industry. As the Washington Post explains, mainstream food processors could previously get away with adding less healthy synthetic sugars to their foods in order to cut down on costs, without being in any way distinguishable from producers using natural sugars. This hurt organic food producers, who had no authoritative way to prove their food’s natural sugar content to the average consumer. Now, the FDA’s new labeling standards will make it easier for customers to decide for themselves exactly how much they value natural sweetener in their food products, without worrying about misinformation from either side. To learn more about organic versus synthetic sugars, see any of the links provided in this article. 3. Criticism Not everyone is happy with the new labeling standards, however. As Food Safety News reports, many nutritionists themselves dispute the effectiveness of the new design. Some feel that the larger calorie information does more harm than good, as it provides an incomplete picture of good versus bad calories while mitigating the effects of fat and sodium upon weight. Others dispute the importance of distinguishing between natural and added sugars, the full nutritional differences of which have only been studied in a limited capacity. Finally, many manufacturers are understandably upset about the expense of relabeling their stock. While a decision might still be several months off, the FDA is attempting to listen to the preferences of consumers and heavily encourage those with strong opinions to make them known to the organization via email, or on social media.

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