FDA extends compliance deadline for Nutrition Facts panel changes

Violet Tucker
June 14, 2017

The deadline for which the food industry must comply with the new labeling will be pushed back for an undisclosed time, the Associated Press reported.

Minton added: "Federal regulators were about to impose burdens on our nation's food companies while making nutrition labels harder for consumers to interpret".

It's the Trump administration's latest delay of the Obama administration's rules meant to improve food labeling and make foods healthier and safer.

When the menu-labeling delay was announced in May, Tom Price, Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services, said the FDA would aim to make the rule more flexible and less burdensome, while still providing useful information to consumers.

The changes include new serving sizes that more closely reflect the amount of food people actually eat, require the amount of "added sugars" to be listed in grams as a percent daily value and updates the nutrients manufacturers must list. The decision came following feedback from industry and consumer groups on the original compliance date, issued in May 2016, of July 26, 2018, with an additional year to comply for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales.

Several large food industry trade groups petitioned the FDA to delay the new label requirements up to three years.

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On Tuesday, the FDA said it intends to give companies additional time to be in compliance. Spokeswoman Deborah Kotz said in an email that details will be released at a later date.

"If some food labels change and others do not, it will make it more hard for consumers to compare foods and make a healthier choice", said Stein, who's a nutrition support dietitian at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

Jim O'Hara, director of health promotion policy for CSPI, said that the delay will only cause confusion as some companies switch to the new label as planned, ahead of others. On April 27, the FDA also delayed rules that would have required calorie counts on restaurant menus. That rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but was delayed until next year.

Despite the extended deadline, CPSI notes that some companies have recognized that consumers want the new information and are already putting updated labels on products.

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. And the Agriculture Department has delayed animal welfare standards for organic foods and sodium standards for federally subsidized school lunches.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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