FDA extends Nutrition Facts label complianceFDA extends Nutrition Facts label compliance
Industry hopeful new nutrition label compliance date would coincide with bioengineered labeling requirements.
June 14, 2017
In May 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration finalized the new rules for its Nutritional Facts label and set the compliance date for July 26, 2018. After careful consideration, FDA announced June 13 that it has determined that additional time would provide the manufacturers covered by the rule with necessary guidance from FDA and would help them be able to complete and print updated Nutritional Facts panels for their products before they are expected to be in compliance.
After the rules were finalized in 2016, industry and consumer groups provided FDA with feedback regarding the compliance dates. As a result, FDA intends to extend the compliance dates to provide the additional time for implementation, although no timeline was set.
“The framework for the extension will be guided by the desire to give industry more time and decrease costs, balanced with the importance of minimizing the transition period during which consumers will see both the old and the new versions of the label in the marketplace," FDA said, adding that it "will provide details of the extension through a Federal Register notice at a later time."
The International Dairy Foods Assn. (IDFA) welcomed the extension. “Dairy foods companies are committed to giving consumers the information they need to make informed choices and appreciate the extra time to be sure that the information on the labels is complete and accurate," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs.
In the past, IDFA has urged government officials to align the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts label changes with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's disclosure standard for bio-engineered foods, which is required by law to be issued by July 2018. Having two separate compliance deadlines would require food and beverage manufacturers to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of changing the label twice on every food package in the U.S.
"Our member companies are hopeful that once FDA announces the new implementation timeline, they will be able to avoid the confusion and extra cost incurred by changing their product labels twice – first to comply with the changes to the Nutrition Facts label and again when the U.S. Department of Agriculture specifies how genetically engineered foods and ingredients need to be labeled," IDFA explained.
In a hearing on Tuesday, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said he is committed to having the final rules for genetically modified labeling on food out by the required July 2018 date set by Congress.
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