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Compliance Dates for Updated Nutrition Labels on Packaged Foods May be Postponed

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to extend the compliance dates for final rules updating the “Nutrition Facts” label for packaged foods and making minor corresponding changes to the “Supplement Facts” label found on dietary supplements. The FDA is proposing this delay in response to concerns raised by companies and trade associations regarding upgrades to labelling software, obtaining nutrition information from suppliers, the number of products that would need new labels, and a limited time for reformulation of products. Comments on this proposal are due by 1 November.

The new requirements apply to all packaged foods, both imported and domestically produced, except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Under the FDA’s proposal, most food manufacturers would be required to use the new label by 1 January 2020 (rather than 26 July 2018) and those with less than US$10 million in annual food sales would have until 1 January 2021 (rather than 26 July 2019).

The new “Nutrition Facts” label will include the following.

  • declaration of grams and percent daily value for added sugars
  • updated serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts people currently eat and drink, which has changed since the last serving sizes were published in 1993
  • dual column labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings
  • declaration of potassium, vitamin D, calcium and iron that includes the actual gram amount in addition to the percent daily value (listing vitamins A and C will now be voluntary)
  • updated daily values for a variety of nutrients such as sodium, dietary fibre and vitamin D
  • removal of “calories from fat” declaration because current science supports a view that the type of fat (e.g., saturated fat or trans fat, which continues to be required) is more relevant than overall total fat intake in increased risk of chronic diseases
  • a refreshed format emphasising certain elements such as calories and servings

Manufacturers must make certain written records to verify the declarations of dietary fibre, added sugars, vitamin E, and folate and folic acid in covered food labelling and keep those records for at least two years after the food is introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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