FDA – Final Guidance on Menu Labeling published

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on 29th April the publication of its final guidance for industry, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).”

The FDA intends to begin enforcing the menu labeling final rule one year from the date that the Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register. The NOA for the guidance is expected to be published in early May 2016.

This guidance responds to many frequently asked questions that the agency has received to date. It differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers on topics such as covered establishments, alcoholic beverages, catered events, mobile vendors, grab-and-go items, and record keeping requirements.

In 2010, section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended 403(q)(5)(H) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 343(q)(5)(H)) to require that restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items, provide calorie information for standard menu items (including food on display and self-service food) and provide, upon request, additional written nutrition information for standard menu items.

This guidance document describes nutrition labeling that is required for foods sold in covered establishments, how this information (calorie and nutrition labeling) may be presented, and when exempt foods, as defined further below, must provide nutrition labeling. The guidance also describes means (reasonable basis) by which nutrient values may be derived.

You can download the PDF file here.

(Source: FDA website)

WTO, US and EU meat COOL labelling – QeA to the EU Commission

Question for written answer to the Commission – Ricardo Serrão Santos (S&D) – 17.09.2015

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico in their dispute against the United States in relation to rules concerning origin labelling for meat.

The indication of the origin of meat applied in the US, on which the dispute centred, is mandatory for meat coming from animals born, reared and slaughtered in the country. The WTO ruled that this practice discriminated against meat imports from other countries, and retaliatory measures are now possible.

An indication of origin is important for producers and consumers alike and can offer significant added value.

What guarantees can the Commission give that this type of dispute will not affect agricultural exports from the European Union, where origin labelling applies?

Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission – 03.11.2015

The WTO dispute outcome did not state that all origin labelling for meat is against WTO rules. Instead it found that the practical application of the US system was discriminatory as it accorded less favourable treatment to imported livestock than to like domestic livestock, in particular due to disproportionate record keeping and verification requirements for producers and processors of imported livestock.

The EU country of origin labelling system for meat differs from the US system and in particular treats meat originating in the EU and in other countries in a similar way.

As for meat exports from the EU, these are naturally subject to the labelling rules of the importing country. The WTO dispute underlines that those rules must be non-discriminatory. This can only be of benefit to EU exports as they should therefore not be disadvantaged compared to local production.

(Source: European Parliament website)