The FDA today (Sept. 29) announced a delay in the implementation date for the new Nutrition Facts panel, from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020, for food processors with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in sales have an extra year to comply — until Jan. 1, 2021.
The extension has been rumored for a while, as the Trump administration has been revisiting many "burdensome" rules imposed by the previous administration. There also remain some key vacancies at FDA and USDA, necessitating some delays.
The delay also involves the final rules (and implementation dates) for Supplement Facts and Serving Size.
Back in May of 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. "The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices," the agency said at the time. That gave the food industry two years to prepare for the changes.
The biggest changes were calling out added sugars, increasing many serving sizes and making calories bigger and bolder.
"After those rules were finalized, industry and consumer groups provided the FDA with feedback regarding the compliance dates," the agency wrote today. "After careful consideration, the FDA determined that additional time would provide manufacturers covered by the rule with necessary guidance from FDA, and would help them be able to complete and print updated nutrition facts panels for their products before they are expected to be in compliance.
"As a result, the FDA intends to extend the compliance dates to provide the additional time for implementation. 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."