FDA Extended Compliance Dates for Nutrition Facts Label Final Rules to 2020 and 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to extend the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label final rule and the Serving Size final rule from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would receive an extra year to comply—until Jan. 1, 2021.

The FDA is not proposing any other changes to the Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size final rules.

Written or electronic comments on the extension of the compliance dates are being accepted for 30 days, beginning on October 2, 2017. The FDA is only accepting comments on the extension of the compliance dates and not on the content of the Final Rules published in 2016.

Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov

The decision was cheered by the industry associations (GMA, Grocery Manufacturer Association), but not so appreciated by consumer’s groups and the CSPI (Center For Science in the Public Interest) which consider the move a danger for public health (added sugars won’t be visible until 2020…) and fear a lack of clarity on the market.

The new Nutrition Facts schemes can be already used on the labels and – in my daily experience – they are requested by many US retailers and importers to foreign clients: therefore, on this last issue, I am totally agree with the CSPI. A co-existence of two different Nutrition Facts schemes on the shelves for 3-4 years cannot help already confused consumers to clear their mind about nutrition information. It is an odd situation also for me that I am used to the convoluted EU legislation making process!

On the other hand, FDA guidance documents on the new labeling schemes will be most welcome in the meantime.

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