U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Food
  3. Food Labeling & Nutrition
  4. FDA’s Nutrition Initiatives
  1. Food Labeling & Nutrition

FDA’s Nutrition Initiatives

The FDA is prioritizing its nutrition initiatives to ensure people in the United States have greater access to healthier foods and nutrition information we can all use to make healthier choices more easily. Increasing the availability of healthier foods could improve eating patterns and, as a result, improve everyone’s health and wellness.

Eating patterns in the U.S. do not align with federal dietary recommendations. Most people in the U.S. do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and healthy oils, and consume too much saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. Healthy eating is influenced by a variety of factors including access to healthy, safe, and affordable foods as well as consumers’ knowledge, preferences, and culture.  At the FDA, we want to have an impact on eating patterns by encouraging industry to make healthier foods and by helping consumers follow healthier diets. 

The U.S. faces an ever-growing epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Poor nutrition plays a key role in chronic but preventable diseases, which are leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Racial and ethnic minority groups, those with lower socioeconomic status and those living in rural areas disproportionately experience these diet-related chronic diseases. Additionally, the current pandemic has made it very clear that we need to improve nutrition, given that people with obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases have an increased risk of severe symptoms and death from COVID-19. In 2021, CDC issued a report indicating that sharp increases in Body Mass Index rates occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic; those with overweight or obesity and younger school-aged children experienced the largest increases. 

FDA’s Role

The FDA plays a key role within a broader, whole-of-government approach to help reduce the burden of chronic diseases and advance health equity by helping to improve dietary patterns in the U.S. The FDA has taken some significant steps to support consumers in making healthier choices. For example, the FDA updated the Nutrition Facts label with a refreshed design and updated information, including the declaration of added sugars (consuming too much added sugars can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits). Calories are also now required to be declared on certain menus and menu boards to better equip consumers with nutrition information when they eat away from home. Most recently, the FDA issued voluntary sodium reduction targets for industry in a wide variety of processed, packaged and prepared foods as part of an ongoing effort to reduce sodium in the food supply. 

The FDA knows more needs to be done. We will continue to focus on creating a healthier food supply, empowering consumers and helping establish healthy starts for our youngest populations. Working with our federal partners in a whole-of-government approach, we can dramatically reduce the risk of diet-related chronic diseases, advance health equity, and improve the health of future generations.

Key Elements


Initiative Progress
Sodium Reduction
  • Issued final guidance on voluntary, short-term targets for sodium (October 2021)
  • Published guidance to provide enforcement discretion for the use of “potassium salt” on product ingredient lists (December 2020)
Maternal and Infant Health and Nutrition  
  • Published updated fish advice for those who might become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding, and children, in partnership with EPA (October 2021)
  • Co-hosted Bioactive Ingredients in Infant Formula Workshop with the National Institutes of Health (September 2021)
  • Developing draft guidance for industry on protein efficiency ratio studies and infant formula submissions
Labeling and Claims
Standards of Identity and Plant-based Labeling
  • Developing a joint proposed rule with USDA to establish principles for when to establish, amend or revoke standards of identity
  • Reopened comment period on the proposed rule: Food Standards - General Principles and Food Standards Modernization (February 2020) and extended the comment period (April 2020)
  • Extended the reopened comment period on the proposed rule 
  • Developing rule to amend regulations to remove partially hydrogenated oils from FDA’s standard of identity and Generally Recognized as Safe regulations
  • Discussed horizontal approaches to SOIs with stakeholders at a public meeting (September 2019) and reviewed comments submitted to docket
  • Developing draft guidance on the labeling of plant-based milk alternatives
  • Issued request for information to solicit feedback on the labeling of plant-based products using dairy terms in labeling (September 2018)
Back to Top