The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) have announced the availability of two new learning tools to help consumers use the Nutrition Facts label to choose nutritious foods and achieve healthy weight management: Make Your Calories Count, a Web-based learning program; and a new Nutrition Facts Label brochure.
Make Your Calories Count is an interactive online learning program that is also available in a downloadable format. It is designed to help consumers understand and use the Nutrition Facts label to plan a healthy diet while managing calorie intake. The program guide features an animated character called “Labelman” who leads the viewer through a series of exercises on the food label. The program includes exercises to help consumers explore the relationship between serving sizes and calories, while they learn how to limit certain nutrients and get enough of others. For simplicity, the program presents two nutrients that should be limited (saturated fat and sodium) and two nutrients that should be consumed in adequate amounts (fiber and calcium).
Consumers can use the Nutrition Facts label to take control of their caloric intake and weight and to make healthy food choices, if they know how. This program will show consumers how, in part, by explaining what serving sizes, percentages, and daily values mean and how to use them. This program is available for online use and in a downloadable format at www.cfsan.fda.gov/labelman. FDA is making available a new downloadable Nutrition Facts Label brochure that is targeted for use by consumers. The brochure can also be used by health professionals to teach people how to make healthier food choices. The brochure describes how consumers can use the Nutrition Facts label as they shop and plan meals. The brochure includes information that will help consumers understand the relationship between calories and serving size, which may help them use the label to manage their intake of calories. This brochure is available at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/lab-gen.html.
These new learning tools are part of a commitment by HHS and FDA to help reduce the number of overweight persons and obesity in America.
Updated Labeling Guidelines for Fruit, Vegetables and Fish
In accordance with the NLEA, the FDA has amended the voluntary nutrition labeling regulations for the 20 most frequently consumed raw fruits, vegetables and fish in the USA by updating their names and nutrition labeling values and by clarifying the guidelines for the voluntary nutrition labeling of these foods. Specifically, the new guidelines state that when a retailer provides nutrition labeling for more than one raw fruit or vegetable on a sign, poster, brochure, notebook or leaflet, the listings for saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol may be omitted if a footnote is included that says most fruits and vegetables contain negligible amounts of these ingredients, with the exception of avocados, which contain 0.5 grams of saturated fat per ounce. When retailers provide nutrition labeling information for more than one raw fish on signs, posters, brochures, notebooks, or leaflets, the listing for trans fat, dietary fiber and sugars may be omitted if a footnote reads “Fish provide negligible amounts of trans fat, dietary fiber, and sugars.”
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