FDA Guidance for Nutrient Conversion Units on Nutrition & Supplement Facts Labels

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Washington, D.C.–The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a guidance for industry with step-by-step instructions for manufacturers on how to convert the previous units of measure for folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E to the new units required on the updated Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels. Conversion factors to be used for each of these nutrients and sample calculations for converting new units of measure are also provided. The document also provides information that can help manufacturers understand and comply with relevant labeling requirements, according to FDA.

Units of measurement changed only for folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E.  FDA offered the following overview:

  • Folate: The unit of measurement was changed from micrograms to micrograms dietary folate equivalents (mcg DFE).
  • Vitamins A and D: Labels must declare units of measure using micrograms (mcg) rather than international units (IU).
  • Niacin: The unit of measurement changed from milligrams (mg) to milligrams Niacin Equivalents (mg NE) but will still be labeled as mg.
  • Vitamin E: The unit of measurement was changed from IUs to mg alpha (α) tocopherol but can be labeled as mg.
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FDA also explained that the compliance date for these and other changes related to the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels is January 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have an extra year to comply.

More details can be found here.

FDA also said the Agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion to give manufacturers of single-ingredient sugars such as honey and maple syrup, and certain cranberry products, until July 1, 2021, to comply. For those seeking more information on syrups and sugars, FDA updated its Questions and Answers to include two new questions— one on how sugars and syrups that contain two or more ingredients must be labeled and one on the use of the linear display for a package of a single-ingredient sugar or syrup.

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