By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

New requirements for the nutrition facts label that appears on packaged foods and drinks was delayed Tuesday, allowing food companies more time to implement the changes.

The labels were redesigned to make it easier for consumers to see how many calories and added sugars are in the product. Aside from new added sugars listings, the calorie listing is to be changed to bigger, bolder type and serving sizes should be made more realistic. The labels currently list how many total sugars are in a product, including those that are naturally occurring, such as in fruit and milk.

The Food and Drug Administration released the changes late last spring. Originally, large food companies had until July 26, 2018, to comply. Smaller companies were given an additional year to make changes.

The FDA did not specify in its announcement how long the delay will be.

The overhaul of labels has been a long time coming. The FDA first proposed the changes in 2014. That was the first major update since the labels were created more than 20 years ago.

Recently, the FDA also delayed a rule that would require restaurants and grocery and convenience store chains to post calorie counts for prepared foods. That rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but was delayed until next year.

American Heart Association Chief Executive Nancy Brown lamented the decision, saying the FDA is putting “industries’ concerns before the public’s health.”

She said the decision is even more upsetting since it comes on the heels of the FDA extending the menu labeling compliance deadline.