Curious to know how many calories you're consuming by scarfing down an entire pint of ice cream or bag of chips? Now, thanks to U.S. food regulators you can.
New Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules specify that the label on any food package that contains between two and three servings and that could be eaten in one sitting must provide nutrition information both for a single serving and for eating the entire contents.
The dual column label is now required for "some foods that can reasonably be consumed in one meal or snack," according to Claudine Kavanaugh, director of the office of nutrition and food labeling in the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
"We know that Americans are eating differently, and the amount of calories and nutrients on the label is required to reflect what people actually eat and drink – not a recommendation of what to eat or drink," Kavanaugh stated last month in announcing the revised labeling regulations. "The new label, including this dual column layout, will drive consumers' attention to the calories and percent daily value of nutrients that they are actually consuming."
Food makers with annual sales of at least $10 million must follow the updated labeling rules effective January 1, while smaller companies will have another year to comply, the FDA said.
Finalized in mid-2016, the agency delayed implementing the regulations until this month. The FDA has said it would work with manufacturers for the first six months of the year on complying with the new rule rather than taking enforcement action.