First Lady Michelle Obama announced at a White House event on Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is unveiling proposed “sweeping changes” to the Nutrition Facts Panel.  The event marked the fourth anniversary this week of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to combat childhood obesity.  The Obama administration, which estimated that the relabeling could cost the food industry $2 billion to implement, said the update is necessary to keep pace with the changing science of nutrition and to reduce confusion about what is and is not healthful foods.

The FDA is calling the new labels a major health policy change, especially after USDA reported last year that 42 percent of Americans are label-checkers. The First Lady discussed the move to limit junk food marketing in schools; new labels with realistic serving sizes; more prominent calorie counts; and accurate information on the amount of added sugar.  She said the new labels were designed with a “simple guiding principle–that you as a parent should be able to walk into a grocery store, pick an item from a shelf, and tell immediately whether it’s good for your family.”

The FDA revisions announced this week to the ubiquitous nutrition label, used on approximately 700,000 food products, are the first in 20 years.  FDA is required to take public comments on the proposal for 90 days.  The agency will then review the comments and could make modifications.  Once the final rule has been issued, the agency will give manufacturers two years to change their package labeling.  The National Chicken Council’s legal counsel Hogan Lovells has prepared a memorandum on FDA proposed revisions, which is available here.