The federal government this week launched its proposed changes to food labels, intended to more accurately reflect the nutritional value and calorie content of packaged foods. The proposed changes will be published in the Federal Register on March 3, then will be open for public comment for 90 days prior to final rulemaking and implementation. FDA updates food-label regulations

The proposed rules, which represent the first major overhaul of food-nutrition labeling in 20 years, will make the total calorie count for a serving of food more prominent and will list more realistic serving sizes. Today, calorie counts per serving can be misleading for consumers. A product might, for example, be packaged in a way that appears to be a single serving, and the label might claim “100 calories per serving. Upon closer examination, the label might also say the package contains 2.5 servings. In other cases where food is packaged in multi-serving containers, the listed serving size is unrealistic based on today’s eating habits

The rules also would update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared on food labels, require listing the amount of added sugar and require listing types of fats and update minimum daily requirements for some nutrients and maximum daily intake for ingredients such as sodium.

The proposed rules for nutritional label information and for serving size and calories are available online from FDA, along with instructions for submitting comments.