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Volume 16, Number 3 - March 2016

Greetings from Food Label News! We join the rest of the food labeling community with eager anticipation for FDA's Final Rules for food labels. While the regulations may be out as early as this month, we look back to what has highly influenced these regulations historically: Dietary Guidelines. This month we also address the use of the term "fresh" on packaging – whether in product descriptions or brand names. As our industry takes an important step forward, please tell us what’s on your mind and stay informed in the Food Label Community.

In this issue you'll find:


"I have received your newsletter for several years and I have always found it very interesting and helpful in the work I do. Thank you for doing it."

– Janet Lilleberg  
University of Minnesota  

Dietary Guidelines: An Important Foundation for Final Food Label Rules

What's News in the Food Label Community

Reader Q&A: Use of the Term "Fresh"


Karen C. Duester, President

Dietary Guidelines: An Important Foundation for Final Food Label Rules

Last month's Wall Street Journal feature on food labeling brings FDA's much anticipated Final Rules to the national consciousness. The food industry is poised to change every single food label to help consumers make smarter food choices. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a cornerstone in FDA's nutrition labeling regulations.

Reader Favorites

The magnitude of change for food labels: 8.8 on the richter scale


Dietary Guidelines are designed to help people, two years old or older, promote health, prevent chronic disease and reach and maintain a healthy weight. First released in 1980, these guidelines are updated every 5 years and establish the scientific basis for all federal nutrition programs, including research, education, nutrition assistance, labeling and promotion.

Recent history supports use of Dietary Guidelines as a vital reference for food label rulemaking. FDA widely referenced the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in their 2014 Proposed Rules for nutrition labeling and serving size changes. They also relied on the scientific report from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines committee for the supplemental Proposed Rule related to added sugars.

What distinguishes the recently-released 2015 Dietary Guidelines and will likely inform the upcoming final labeling rules is the recommendation for more of a focus on healthy eating patterns across the lifespan with a gradual shift to healthier foods and beverages. Specifically, the new Dietary Guidelines:


Focus on eating patterns vs. specific nutrients


Limit added sugars to less than 10% of total calories


Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories


Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day


Eliminate the previously-established level for cholesterol

We await FDA's Final Rules as early as this month, according to the Fall 2015 Regulatory Plan. While elections and other political events can affect timing, we look forward to these important Final Rules so that food labelers can update their food label plans and consumers can be guided to make healthier food choices.

What's News in the Food Label Community


Wall Street Journal article highlights food labels (18+ likes)


FDA Warning Letters and net weight (12+ comments)


Looming deadline for Vermont GMO labeling (10+ comments)


Nutrition claims for servings below the RACC (8+ comments)


Country of Origin "Made in the USA" (7+ comments)

Join Food Label Community. Already a member, view Discussions.

Reader Q&A

Find answers to our readers' questions or send us your question for an upcoming issue.


Are there any regulations governing the use of the term "fresh" as part of a brand name, e.g., "Fresh Expressions"?  
J.G., Florida, Consultant 


FDA defines the terms fresh, freshly frozen, fresh frozen and frozen fresh in the Code of Federal Regulations. "Fresh" conveys that the food is unprocessed - this means that the food is in its raw state and has not been frozen, subject to thermal processing or any other form of preservation. This applies to all label claims including the brand name. Read more.

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