The food and beverage industry received an informal indication yesterday from the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration that the agency likely will extend the compliance date for updates to the Nutrition Facts label to January 2020. For companies wondering when the changes will go into effect, IDFA believes the January 2020 date is a good target to use.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., was speaking yesterday at an event hosted by POLITICO when he said the agency needed another year to prepare before implementing the new requirements. Later in the day he clarified his comments on Twitter to say the extension would be “closer to 18 months.” No official compliance date has been announced.
The original compliance date for manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales was July 26, 2018. For manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales, the compliance date was set for July 26, 2019.
In June of this year, FDA announced its intention to extend the compliance dates for the new Nutrition Facts label and Serving Size rules to provide additional time for implementation, but no timeline was set. At the time, FDA said it would provide details of the extension through a Federal Register notice in the future. The comments made by Commissioner Gottlieb yesterday and today are the first indication of a new timeline since the June announcement.
Guidance Documents to Come
IDFA has also learned that FDA is preparing several guidance documents related to the Nutrition Facts label updates and aims to release them before next year.
“We anticipate that FDA will announce the new compliance dates by the end of the year along with guidance documents on topics that help clarify the rules for determining dietary fiber, added sugar and others label changes,” said Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president of regulatory affairs.
IDFA has repeatedly reached out to FDA and others in the administration, including the Office of Management and Budget, to ask for harmonization of the compliance dates for the new Nutrition Facts requirements with the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, currently under development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. IDFA continues to request an extension to May 2021 for both updates to reduce consumer confusion and avoid unnecessary spending by companies.
Next Steps for IDFA
On September 20, IDFA will join representatives from nearly 40 trade associations that form the Food and Beverage Industry Alliance at a meeting with top FDA officials. The first topic on the agenda will be the request to harmonize compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts label and the disclosure standard.
John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, will represent IDFA. The officials at the meeting will include:
- Anna Abram, deputy commissioner for policy, planning, legislation and analysis (on behalf of Commissioner Gottlieb)
- Stephen Ostroff, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine
- Susan Mayne, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
- Douglas Balentine, director, Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, CFSAN
For more labeling background, visit IDFA’s issue pages for Nutrition Facts Label Changes and National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. Members may log in for full details.
Members with questions may contact Frye at email@example.com or Michelle Matto, IDFA’s nutrition and labeling consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.