Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > FDA To Conduct Study on Nutrition Facts Labels

FDA To Conduct Study on Nutrition Facts Labels

Posted 29 December 2011 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

A Federal Register notice released on Thursday indicates that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning on conducting a study on how consumers use and understand nutrition facts labels.

Prior research conducted by the FDA and others has indicated that consumers use the nutrition facts labels information to avoid certain nutrients, determine the presence of desired nutrients, determine the suggested daily value (Percent Daily Value), and more.

The FDA has been made aware that some consumers find the information to be confusing.  For example:

  •          Nutrients are listed by weight, but Percent Daily Value (PDV) is listed as a percentage.  Some consumers find it difficult to convert the PDV in to an amount.
  •         PDV is based on a 2000 calorie-per-day diet, which if not applicable to all consumers.
  •          The nutritional facts labels do not distinguish between natural sugars and added sugars present in a product.

The FDA study will focus on consumer reactions to the nutritional labels, including judgments about a food product's attributes and "healthfulness", ability to use nutritional facts to make informed decisions, and general consumer perceptions regarding the nutritional label.

The FDA will use information from the study to advance and enhance understanding of how the nutrition facts affect consumer perception of food products and, as a result, dietary choices. More information about the study, including ways to comment on the proposed study, can be found on the Federal Register.

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