The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week released two guidance documents on updates to the Nutrition Facts label. One document is final guidance and provides additional information on requirements for labeling added sugars, vitamins and minerals. The other is draft guidance and clarifies rules for dual column formats and serving sizes. The documents are important guides for dairy products companies that are preparing to comply with the updated nutrition labeling requirements by Jan. 1, 2020.
Nutrition Facts Label Final Guidance
FDA’s final guidance is called “Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals: Guidance for Industry.” This is an update of a draft guidance originally released in January 2017.
Most importantly for IDFA members, it clarifies that FDA will consider the date the food product was labeled when enforcing compliance with the new label requirements. Products that are labeled on or after the compliance date must bear a nutrition label that meets the new requirements. Products that are labeled before the applicable compliance date do not need to comply. This means products that are already in the supply chain or sitting on store shelves will not need to comply when the rule goes into effect.
The guidance also clarifies that low-lactose dairy products produced using lactase enzymes will not need to label the resulting sugars as added sugar. Lactase is used to break down lactose into smaller sugars in a process known as hydrolysis so that they can be more easily digested by certain consumers.
It also provides additional information on how to calculate added sugars, including sugars from concentrated fruit juice. Additionally, it includes updates to FDA’s recommended rounding rules for quantitative declaration of vitamins and minerals with some changes to the recommended rounding, particularly for B vitamins.
Read, “Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals: Guidance for Industry.”
Nutrition Facts Label Draft Guidance
FDA also issued draft guidance called “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One Eating Occasion, Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed, Serving Size-Related Issues, Dual-Column Labeling, and Miscellaneous Topics: Guidance for Industry.”
It clarifies how companies should determine serving sizes and number of servings declared on the Nutrition Facts label. It answers questions on when companies should use dual-column labeling, which shows nutrition information for a single serving size and for the whole package.
The guidance says that a food package can voluntarily be labeled as single serving, without dual-column labeling, if it contains between 200 percent and 300 percent of the Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC), the amount that reflects what Americans realistically consume.
The guidance also clarifies that companies can include a voluntary column of nutrition information per unit on a multiunit retail package containing less than 200 percent of the RACC.
Additionally, it provides companies with details on what products, such as smaller sized packages, are exempt from dual column labeling.
Read, “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion, Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed, Serving Size-Related Issues, Dual-Column Labeling, and Miscellaneous Topics: Guidance for Industry.”
Members with questions may contact Michelle Matto, R.D.N., IDFA’s nutrition and labeling consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.