The Food and Drug Administration last week proposed extending the compliance date for updates to the Nutrition Facts label from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020. The announcement formalizes the agency’s intent to delay implementation to this date, which was first hinted at by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., during a POLITICO event earlier this month.
“While not final, the proposed delay provides much-needed clarity to dairy companies left wondering when the rule would go into effect,” said Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president of regulatory affairs. “It indicates that FDA understands companies need more time to overhaul their product labels.”
If finalized, the delay would push the compliance date for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would have until Jan. 1, 2021, to comply.
Until then, FDA says it intends to exercise enforcement discretion to the original 2018 start date. Companies may choose to implement the new labels now, but are not required to use the new format until the revised compliance date.
The agency said it proposed the delay in response to requests from companies and trade associations, such as IDFA, for more time to implement the extensive changes required by the rule. IDFA has repeatedly asked FDA to delay the implementation date and harmonize it with the compliance date of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, currently under development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It is expected that USDA will issue its final rule on the bioengineered disclosure standard by July 2018. This would mean that many companies would be able to work on both labeling requirements at the same time, saving them valuable production time and costs,” said Frye.
IDFA is working with its regulatory committees to decide whether to submit comments on the proposed extension to FDA. Specifically, IDFA wants to know if members believe the proposed compliance date provides sufficient time for labeling changes.
Members may contact Frye at email@example.com by Oct. 13 with comments or concerns about the proposed delay.
For more information, visit IDFA’s issue pages for Nutrition Facts Label Changes and National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. Members may log in for full details.