F.D.A. proposes extension to 2020 for Nutrition Facts Panel compliance

by Jeff Gelski
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The F.D.A. has proposed to extend new Nutrition Facts Panel compliance to 2020.
 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed to extend the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label final rule. Under the proposal, manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales would have until Jan. 1, 2020, to come into compliance. The previous compliance date was July 26, 2018. Also under the new proposal, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would have until Jan. 1, 2021, to come into compliance.

The F.D.A.’s proposal comes in response to concern expressed by companies and trade associations about the time needed to implement the final rule.

“These stakeholders expressed concerns about their ability to update all products by the original compliance dates and the importance of obtaining clarification from the F.D.A. on a number of technical issues relating to the final rules,” the F.D.A. said when announcing its proposal Sept. 29.

 

The F.D.A.’s final rule appeared in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register. The F.D.A. in June of this year said it planned to extend the compliance date but at the time did not give an exact date. The Sept. 29 F.D.A. proposal would push the date to Jan. 1, 2020.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Washington, welcomed the extension.

Pamela G. Bailey, G.M.A.
Pamela Bailey, president and c.e.o. of the G.M.A.

“F.D.A.’s new compliance date will provide companies with the necessary time to execute these updates to the Nutrition Facts Panel in a manner that will reduce consumer confusion and costs in the marketplace,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. “This common-sense extension to Jan. 1, 2020, will allow F.D.A. to complete the necessary final guidance documents for added sugars and dietary fibers and gives companies adequate time to make the Nutrition Facts Panel revisions.”

The American Bakers Association, Washington, said bakers applaud the F.D.A. and the Donald Trump administration for granting bakers and suppliers more time for implementation.

Robb MacKie, ABA
Robb MacKie, president and c.e.o. of the A.B.A.

“F.D.A.’s decision recognizes the practical consequences of a complete changeover of our food labels,” said Robb MacKie, president and c.e.o. of the A.B.A. “This additional time will help suppliers and bakers provide consumers with needed nutrition information to make healthy, informed decisions about their diets. We also hope this additional time will enable harmonized label changes for both F.D.A.’s Nutrition Facts label rule and U.S.D.A.’s bioengineered food disclosure. One label change would be beneficial for consumers and industry alike.”

Bakers still are awaiting necessary final guidance on both dietary fiber and added sugars labeling requirements so they can make changes as needed, according to the A.B.A.

Lee Sanders
Lee Sanders, senior vice-president, government relations and public affairs for the A.B.A.

“Bakers are eager to receive complete information and guidance from F.D.A. so that we are able to get started with nutrition labeling revisions to provide clear, concise information for American consumers,” said Lee Sanders, senior vice-president, government relations and public affairs for the A.B.A. “Clarity on these technical issues is critical to avoid further consumer confusion around their food.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, disagreed with the F.D.A.’s proposed extension.

Peter Lurie
Peter Lurie, M.D., president of the C.S.P.I.

“The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to cave in to food industry demands and delay the deadline for companies to update their Nutrition Facts labels harms the public’s health, denies consumers vital information and creates an unfair and confusing marketplace as many companies have gone ahead with the labels anyway,” said Peter G. Lurie, M.D., president of the C.S.P.I.

Beginning Oct. 2, the F.D.A. will accept written or electronic comments on the proposed compliance dates for 30 days. The F.D.A. will accept only comments on the extension of the compliance dates. The F.D.A. is not proposing any other changes to the Nutrition Facts Pabel and serving size final rule. Written comments may be sent to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, Md. Electronic comments should be submitted to www.regulations.gov.

All comments should be identified with Docket No. FDA-2012-N-1210 for “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels; Extension of Compliance Date” or Docket No. FDA-2004-N-0258 for “Food Labeling:  Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments; Extension of Compliance Dates.”
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