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FDA provides industry guidance for nutrient conversion units on nutrition, supplement facts labels

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Ekaterina79
© Getty Images / Ekaterina79
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance for industry 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.

The guidance, which can be read here​, includes conversion factors to be used for each of these nutrients and sample calculations for converting new units of measure.

In 2016, the FDA amended the regulations for the nutrition labeling of conventional foods and dietary supplements to update the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels. The regulations include updated Daily Values for the above listed nutrients.

“Daily Values are used to calculate the percent Daily Value that consumers see on the label,” ​explains the Agency. “The % Daily Value helps consumers understand the information in the context of a total daily diet.”


For vitamins A and D, labels must declare units of measure using micrograms (mcg) rather than international units (IU). 

For vitamin E the unit of measurement was changed from IUs to mg alpha (α) tocopherol but can be labeled as mg.

For niacin, the unit of measurement has changed from milligrams (mg) to milligrams Niacin Equivalents (mg NE) but will still be labeled as mg.

For folate, the unit of measurement was changed from micrograms to micrograms dietary folate equivalents (mcg DFE). 

Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales have to comply with the new labeling requirements by January 1, 2020. Smaller manufacturers (less than $10 million in annual food sales) have an extra year to comply.

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