FDA delays rule requiring new nutrition facts panel on food

Jane Richards
June 14, 2017

In 2016, the Obama administration and Food and Drug Administration released a revamp of the standard nutrition label.

The new nutrition panel was created to make it easier for consumers to see how many calories and added sugars a product contained. "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.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday it plans to push back the deadline for a rule requiring food companies to use the new label.

The planned nutrition label changes include a more prominent display of calories, more realistic serving sizes, labeling the amount of added sugars and a column showing total calories in the whole package.

The agency then set a first compliance deadline of July 26, 2018 (for larger manufacturers) and a later deadline of July 2019 for the many smaller packaged foods businesses with annual sales of less than $10 million. But grocery and convenience stores said their offerings are more complicated and asked for adjustments to the rule.

Additionally, the extended compliance dates are meant to give the industry more time and decrease costs, as well as minimize the transition period between the old and new versions of the label in the marketplace.

Deborah Kotz, an FDA spokeswoman, said in an email that details will be provided when the extension is officially announced.

"The current compliance deadline does not sufficiently account for the time, resources and complexity involved in label changes of this magnitude", the groups, which included the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the North American Meat Institute, said. For instance, the association noted that the FDA still needs to evaluate whether some commonly used ingredients in food products can continue to be counted as fiber on the new panel. Still, he said he wasn't surprised by the FDA's decision. The postponement was a response to "numerous stakeholders" requesting more time, the regulator said, though it did not say what the new deadline would be.

The news is only the latest such move from the FDA, which delayed a calorie labeling rule for national restaurant chains by a year, until May 2018. That rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but was delayed until next year.

Other reports by VgToday

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