Whether you are a food manufacturer, a small startup or a food service provider, you are most likely aware of the FDA's proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label, including the proposed changes to serving sizes. The final decision will impact anyone that is required to provide nutrition facts for their product. After the announcement of the proposed changes in February 2014, there was a comment period which enabled the public to comment on the proposed changes. The comment period ended on August 1, 2014. Even with the comment period closing, there is still more to do on the FDA's proposed nutrition label changes.
Very often we receive calls from customers that are either concerned about the FDA's proposed changes or have questions about the changes. We participated in the comment period, ourselves, and voiced a concern about the proposed timeline for the industry to comply with the addition of required nutrients to the label. Like many who have commented, we sometimes wonder: did the FDA hear us and will it make a difference? Is this all we can do?
Just because the comment period ended on August 1st, interest and concern haven't. Instead of feeling helpless and irrelevant, let's start to fill the cup half way full and continue our efforts.
Bruce Silverglade, Principal Attorney at Olsson Frank Weeda (OFW), feels that being proactive is the way to go and offers ways in which we can still engage and impact the final decision. In his recent blog post Mr. Silverglade tells us, "Don't sit back and wait: Be proactive!" He explains, "Filing a comment with FDA is the first, not the last, step in participating in the development of a final regulation."
It can be of interest to know what others have submitted during the comment period. This can help shine a light on who else might share the same stance and who has an opposing perspective.
Mr. Silverglade goes on to encourage anyone in the food industry, who might have concerns, to request a meeting with Members of the House and Senate Committees. They have jurisdiction over FDA's annual appropriations, as well as leading the Members from Congressional committees that have FDA oversight responsibilities. These meetings can serve as a way to share concerns by discussing the impact as it relates to individual areas in the food industry that might be overlooked or aren't being considered merely because of a lack of awareness.
Bottom line, we can still make an impact on the final ruling and there are things that we can be doing to achieve this. Let's continue to work smart, use the available resources, agencies and organizations that are available to be heard, and just remember folks, it's not over...yet.
We are following these propsed changes closely. Check back here for breaking updates.