FDA delays updates to nutrition labels until 2020

FDA delays updates to nutrition labels until 2020
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The Trump administration is delaying Obama-era updates for nutritional facts labels on packaged foods.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule Friday to delay compliance deadlines to the rule finalized in 2016 by a year and a half. 

Manufactures with annual food sales of $10 million or more would have until Jan. 1, 2020, to come into compliance, and manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would have until Jan. 1, 2021.

Under the new rules, manufactures are required to add a percent daily value for added sugars, make serving sizes more closely reflect the amount of food people eat, change the label format to make the number of calories more prominent and update the list of vitamins and nutrients.

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FDA said it’s taking the action to “help ensure that all manufacturers covered by the rules have guidance from FDA to address, for example, certain technical questions we received” after publishing the final rule.

“Companies and trade associations with members covered by the rules have informed us that they have significant concerns about their ability to update all their labels by the compliance dates due to issues regarding (among other things) the need for upgrades to labeling software, the need to obtain nutrition information from suppliers, the number of products that would need new labels, and a limited time for reformulation of products,” the agenda wrote in the proposed rule.

The delay was welcomed by industry groups. 

In a statement, Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said companies now have time execute these updates in a way that reduces consumer confusion and marketplace costs.

“This common-sense extension to January 1, 2020 will allow FDA to complete the necessary final guidance documents for added sugars and dietary fibers and gives companies adequate time to make the Nutrition Facts Panel revisions,” she said. 

“We urge FDA to complete this guidance as quickly as it can so companies can make the required updates.”  

Some companies, however, say they don’t need the extra time.

In a statement, the snack food company KIND said it has already completed 80 percent of its label updates and will finish the remainder in 2018 despite the proposed delay to the compliance date.

The public has 30 days to submit comments on FDA's proposal.