A controversial regulation to update the nutrition facts label that is part of the first lady’s Let’s Move push was finalized by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday, and scientists are warning the new label is not based on sound science.
The changes to the nutrition facts label, which first lady Michelle Obama will announce Friday when she speaks at the Let’s Move-aligned Partnership for a Healthier America, requires food manufacturers to list added sugars, which scientists say lacks “scientific rigor.” The label will also cost companies at least $640 million to update, and a net social cost of $1.4 billion.
“I am thrilled that the FDA has finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement. “This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”
In her remarks, Mrs. Obama called the added sugar change to the label the “most important of all.”
The regulation requires calorie amounts to be larger, and companies will have two years to begin including “added sugars” in order to “help consumers know how much sugar is added to the product during the processing of foods,” the White House said.
A letter critical of the new label signed by a dozen scientists, including Roger Clemens, a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and Eric A. Decker, the head of the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. The scientists said the new label is “misleading,” and note that it was based on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, whose committee did not include a single expert on sugars.