FDA announced this week that it is extending the date by which companies must comply with the agency’s Nutrition Facts Label final rule. The agency has not officially announced what the new compliance date is, only stating on its website that it will provide more details through a Federal Register notice “at a later time.”
This extension is a relief to food, drink, and dietary supplement companies facing the original, fast-approaching compliance date of July 26, 2018. (Under the original time frame, manufacturers will food sales of less than $10 million were given an additional year to comply, to July 26, 2019.)
FDA, which issued its Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules in 2016, says the additional time will give companies more time to update and print their updated nutrition facts panels and allow the agency to better guide companies through the changes.“The framework for the extension will be guided by the desire to give industry more time and decrease costs, balanced with the importance of minimizing the transition period during which consumers will see both the old and the new versions of the label in the marketplace,” the agency said on its website.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA; Washington, DC) was one of the groups who commended FDA for extending the deadline, noting that the agency has not yet issued final guidance on Nutrition Facts Panel overhauls related to added sugars and dietary fibers. “The extension,” GMA said, “allows the federal agency to complete the necessary final guidance documents and gives companies adequate time to make the Nutrition Facts Panel revisions.”
“FDA’s common-sense decision will reduce consumer confusion and costs,” said Pamela G. Bailey, GMA’s president and CEO, in a press release. “Food and beverage manufacturers are committed to giving consumers the information and tools they need to make informed choices, such as by updating the Nutrition Facts Panel. But the fast-approaching compliance deadline was virtually impossible to meet without the needed final guidance documents from FDA. FDA’s extension is both reasonable and practical.”