If you haven't heard yet, the U.S. food labeling system is getting a change for the first time in more than 20 years. A lot of huge changes are coming to our labels which means it can be either bad or good for some. Most of these changes will probably make you happy but there are some pretty obvious things not being done which should be. These changes are all pretty big and changes you will see coming in the next few years. I'll share with you what's going to change with the labels and give my input as a teenager about what still needs to be done in the future.
|Provided by livescience.com|
The new changes coming:
Most of these new changes coming are awesome and things we have needed for a long time. Others really don't make much sense to me and won't make much of a difference. I never really understood a lot of the labeling that's been established since I was born but these are changes that make it so much easier. These changes include the following below:
- Bigger font for calories - The calories on the new labels will be significantly bigger. For most of us this isn't that big of an issue but for the majority of America this can be helpful. It can also be great to teach kids about calories if this is needed.
- Serving sizes made more realistic - Before, serving sizes were set to a portion most of us did not eat. They were the size of what we should eat which was not realistic. Now the serving size is set to the portion that the majority of us eat in one serving to make it more realistic and understandable. Also, the serving per container has a larger font as well which is helpful.
- Natural and artificial sugars separately labeled - Finally, sugars will separately be labeled under "sugars" and "sugars added". Sugars will stand for the sugar that is naturally in the product labeled. Added sugars will stand for any artificial sugar that is added that was not in it naturally. This is by far my favorite change being made to labeling in the U.S.
- All fats being labeled - Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans, and total fats will all be labeled which was not required before. However, "Calories from fat" will not be labeled anymore since supposedly it is not important.
- Daily values moved to left side and upped - The daily % value will now be on the left side making it much easier to read. I think this is helpful as well since all you have to do is look over to the right to see what the daily value is for each category.
- Nutrients displayed differently - Potassium and Vitamin D are now required to be labeled since many people in the U.S. are not getting enough of these. Also, the exact values of nutrients will now be labeled as well.
What was spent and when will this happen:
Looking at these changes may cause you to think this was either very expensive or it wasn't expensive at all. I personally thought it wouldn't be too expensive to do, but I was very surprised when I saw the number. To change these labels to the new format, it cost the government around 2 billion dollars. That's a lot of money when it comes to changing food labels! It made me wonder, "where did this funding come from?" since the FDA supposedly said they did not have enough funding to make any label changes. This was mostly in response to anti GMO advocates like myself. I do think these changes are great and can be very helpful. However, I do wish a few more things would be done which I explain below. If you're wondering when these changes will actually take place, it's said it won't be found in grocery stores for the next few years.
Why aren't GMO's being labeled?
Seeing such dramatic changes coming to our labeling system led me to wonder why the heck we still can't get GMO's labeled. The FDA first claimed that not enough people supported the labeling of GMO's for any new laws to be put into action. They also claimed that labeling GMO's could not be done since there is not enough funding for it. If there's not enough funding for labeling GMO's, then I don't get where that 2 billion dollars came from or how it isn't enough. I personally believe that labeling GMO's is far more important than changing a few things on our labels that we already know about. We still don't know what goes in our food. The only way I feel safe from GMO's is if I eat all natural and I still don't feel 100% safe then. I know there are deeper legal issues involved and also maybe the fact that the government doesn't want us to know what's in our food. But still, I think we have the right to know.
All in all, the new changes coming to the labeling system is a good thing. I think the separation of natural from artificial sugars is great as well as declaring the exact amount of vitamins. Don't get me wrong! These are all great! But I still think GMO's should be labeled. I personally believe that people are suffering from cancer and other diseases caused by GMO's more than they are from the calories they eat. I don't believe calories, fat, and sugars are more important than the actual ingredients we consume. There are tons of packaged products people eat each day filled with toxins and awful genetically modified ingredients. I don't really see how these changes will cause people to decide whether they will eat a unhealthy food or not either. Having larger calorie font isn't going to keep a kid from eating cookies or a unhealthy snack. I believe that it starts from the parents teaching the kids what is healthy and what is not. Some of these changes are very helpful for some of us. But I would still like to some changes made when it comes to labeling GMO's since that has not really happened yet.