“To remain relevant," U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a press statement today, "the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”
Like so many of us, the FDA just wants to remain relevant. This week is the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign, and with it comes today's unveiling of new food nutrition label proposals. The Nutrition Facts required on food packages for 20 years haven't changed significantly since 2006, when trans fat was added to the label.
At a glance, the new one is not much different. Apart from that giant calorie number.
In addition to making people feel things on the guilt-empowerment spectrum, the giant number will be more accurate than the current regular-sized number, the FDA says. That's because the FDA will force manufacturers to reconsider "serving size" based on the size of the container. So a 12-ounce can of soda will be one serving, but so will a 20-ounce bottle of soda. Because not many people buy a 20-ounce soda with the intention of drinking 12 ounces now and 8 at a later date. "What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were first put in place in 1994," the FDA press statement said. "By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what people 'should' be eating."