FDA Will Delay Nutrition Fact Label Reformation

The United States Food and Drug Administration announced, on Wednesday, plans to delay the implementation of the final ruling over Nutrition Fact labels on food and dietary supplements, a process which had originally been finalized in May of 2016. Initially, this rule had been to set a general compliance date of July 26, 2018 (for new labeling requirement adherence) but manufacturers with annual food sales registering below $10 million were provided an extra year to get into compliance.

The FDA announced this effective date postponement by simply revising online guidance and adding a new subsection for compliance dates, which they gave the title: “FDA Intends to Extend Compliance Dates for Nutrition Facts Label Final Rules.” Under this guidance, the agency contends, “industry and consumer groups provided the FDA with feedback regarding the compliance dates [and after] careful consideration, the FDA determined that additional time would provide manufacturers covered by the rule with necessary guidance from FDA, and would help them be able to complete and print updated nutrition facts panels for their products before they are expected to be in compliance.”

While the FDA has provided this new guidance, the agency has chosen not to elaborate further in regards, for example, on new implementation guidance, only noting that “FDA will provide details of the extension through a Federal Register Notice at a later time.”

As you may be aware, the new rule the revamping of the Nutrition Facts in a format that will increase the type size of specific nutrition information and require mandatory declarations for things like “added sugar,” as well as impose a new definition of “dietary fiber,” and, finally, revise serving sizes (for some food products).

The Grocery Manufacturers Association—among other industry groups—had originally requested that the deadline be pushed all the way to 2021, as explained by US Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price. He had received a letter obtained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest health advocacy group.

In its statement, the GMA said that food and beverage companies do want to help consumers to make more informed choices, but this deadline is a little too “fast-approaching,” making it difficult to accommodate all the changes.