The final ruling on the NEW Nutrition Facts Panel has been announced today. The changed facts panel is an effort to reduce America’s increasing obesity rates and related diseases. Michelle Obama, who has been a fervent supporter of the revised nutrition facts, made the announcement today during the Partnership for a Healthier America summit.
In the next few days, we will be putting together a more comprehensive review of the changes and the impacts they will have on your food business. But for now, here are some of the key points:
·Compliance date is July 26, 2018; however, an additional year will be given for food manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales.
·“Added Sugar” declaration will be included.
·Calories and servings will be more prominent.
·Updated serving sizes for the RACC to come.
·Dual Column labels will be required for foods with the RACC of 200% to 300%.
·New nutrients Vitamin D and Potassium to be added (Vitamins A & C no longer required).
What should you do now?
Just hold tight a few more days. The industry was just sent out the guidance late this morning. As of today, the updated software is not available for us to produce the new label. We are awaiting an announcement from Esha, our analysis software company, regarding the timeline for the updates to come through.
Meanwhile, we will be pouring over the new regulations and will have more details coming to you early next week.
Although, no exact date has been announced by the FDA, our sources tell us that this should happen by the end of this month. The final ruling is expected to come out by the end of May. What does this mean for your food business and what should you be doing at this point?
1.) First thing to do...don’t panic! You will have plenty of time to swap out to the new label. In the FDA’s proposal, food manufacturers will have two years to comply. You would be expected to make the change when going to reprint on labels and packaging – within that two year period. In addition, the FDA has also proposed giving the industry six months to prepare for the change prior to the start of the two-year compliance window.
2.) Understand the proposed changes and the potential impact on your current packaging and marketing efforts. If all of the proposals go through, then this will be a very significant change to the layout and size of foot print, as well as new additional nutrients that will need to be tracked. It is important to begin to understand the scope of these changes and how it will affect your current marketing of your food product. We have put together a helpful infographic that provides an overview of the proposed changes. Click here for the infographic.
3.) Gather your team and begin the discussions. If you haven’t had meetings already within your company about the upcoming nutrition label change, then now is a great time to start. Everybody on your team should become familiar with the proposed changes. Purchasing should forecast label and packaging inventory to plan when to change out; marketing should understand how the foot print size and other changes will affect the entire label /package layout; and R&D needs to understand the new nutrients added and if there will be any impact on Nutrition or Health Claims.
We, here at RL Food Testing, are excited that the final ruling is almost in and we are ready to help your food business navigate through these changes. Whether you are a long-time customer or new to our family business, we will be able to update your nutrition facts when all is finalized.
The FDA issued a draft guidance document to clarify the administration’s policy on the declaration of small and trace amounts of nutrients on manufacturers’ nutrition labels. Released as a notice in Federal Register, the draft guidance, when finalized, will “...explain to manufacturers of conventional foods and dietary supplements [the FDA’s] policy on determining the amount to declare on the nutrition label for certain nutrients and dietary ingredients that are present in a small amount.”
Issuing the draft guidance was determined necessary by the emergence of a potential conflict of interest between specific stipulations of the Code of Federal Relations (CFR). In the agency’s own words, “...declaring small amounts of nutrients and dietary ingredients in the nutrition labeling may result in a conflict between 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1) through (8) and 21 CFR 101.9(g)(4)(ii) and 21 CFR 101.9(g)(5). In such cases, we are recommending manufacturers declare nutrients and dietary ingredients in accordance with Sec. 101.9(c)(1) through (8).”
The FDA’s announcement will render food labels with declarations of nutritional content “misbranded” should they fall outside a standard deviation of 20% from the suggested amount of a given nutrient or caloric metric. In other words, a nutrition label claiming 8 grams of saturated fat per serving but in fact featuring 10 grams would be “misbranded.” Likewise, a product that claims to feature 50% of one’s daily recommended value (DRV) of Vitamin A that actually offers only 39% of one’s DRV would be subject to departmental recourse.
The draft guidance document is mostly directed at clarifying the nuances of American labeling laws for food manufacturers and purveyors. In the words of the bureau, “the draft guidance represents the current thinking of FDA on our policy on declaring small amounts of nutrients and dietary ingredients on nutrition labels. It does not establish any rights for any person and is not binding on FDA or the public.” Furthermore, the FDA is accepting public comments on the draft guidance up until September 28, 2015.