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FDA to Make Major Changes to Nutrition Labels

Created: 02/27/2014 7:16 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There’s some big changes coming to the food you eat. For the first time in 20 years, the FDA is changing its labels to reflect up-to-date nutritional references.

Like many parents, Jen Brewer finds shopping healthy a bit difficult with two kids in tow. "It's trying to find that big happy medium, what I’m happy with them eating and what their happy eating,” said Jen Brewer of Rochester. 

Which is why Jen pays close attention to nutrition labels. "First I’m going to look at the serving size because it says 3/4 cup, which my kids are going to put at least double that in,” she said.

For the first time in two decades, the FDA giving these labels a makeover. Under the new label, the calorie count will be much bigger, a new category added sugars and empty calories will be added. But some of the major changes come in serving sizes. They will soon be more realistic, to reflect what we really eat.

"Say a soda, if it's half the bottle they're saying is a serving and more commonly people are consuming the entire container, let’s be reflective of that,” said Registered Dietitian, Katherine Zeratsky. 

Same goes for ice cream. Right now a half cup is a single serving size, but soon a full cup will be the acceptable size and you'll get your full calorie count.

"If the information is more clear and it allows them to make an informed decision, they're just that much more empowered in their health,” said Zeratsky, who says only 40 some percent of adults even use the label. But those who do, see the soon to be more understandable labels as a time saver at the grocery store.

"With a small child it's difficult anyway, so if it takes a few seconds off my trip, I’ll appreciate it,” said Rochester shopper, Ian Shaw. 

"Kudos to them for taking it on,” said Brewer. 

The 700,000 new labels will cost the food industry an estimated $2 billion to put in place. The new labels will be mandatory within the next two years.