The FDA’s new rules for food labeling are finally here
The changes are a step toward better health and less obesity, especially in children
By Marion Nestle on May 24, 2016
The FDA’s announcement of final rules for its overhaul of labels on food packages is a signature accomplishment of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation.
In 2010, in setting the agenda for Let’s Move!, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity called for improving the clarity, accuracy, and consistency of food package labels to enable parents and children to make healthier food choices. The Task Force noted that more than half the adult public used food labels to decide what to buy, but that the current labels had hardly changed since the FDA’s regulations of 1993.
The FDA actually began work on revising the food label in 2005 with a request for public input on updating serving sizes, and it began formal rulemaking in 2008. The FDA proposed rules and issued its last call for comments in 2014.
I attribute this nine-year process to details and politics.
First, the details. The Federal Register notice on the food label takes up 943 pages, and it takes another 170 pages to explain the changes in serving sizes.
FDA’s fact sheet on the changes explains the politics. Most changes are relatively uncont…