The FDA tomorrow will make official what it's been signaling for several months: that the new Nutrition Facts panel will not be required until 2020 or 2021.
The May 4 Federal Register expects to carry the announcement, which will require the new label by Jan. 1, 2020 for food & beverage companies with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Companies will less than $10 million in sales have until Jan. 1, 2021.
In the Federal Register of May 27, 2016, the compliance dates were set at July 26, 2018 and July 26, 2019, respectively. But in the Oct. 2, 2017 Federal Register, the agency flagged its intention to delay the rules for 1.5 years.
"After we published the Nutrition Facts Label and the Serving Size Final Rules, companies and trade associations with members covered by the rules informed us that they had significant concerns about their ability to update all their labels by the compliance dates due to issues regarding (among other things) the need for upgrades to labeling software, the need to obtain nutrition information from suppliers, the number of products that would need new labels, and a limited time for reformulation of products," the agency wrote.
"We are taking this action because, after careful consideration, we have determined that additional time would help ensure that all manufacturers covered by the final rules have guidance from FDA to address, for example, certain technical questions we received after publication of the final rules, and that they have sufficient time to complete and print updated Nutrition Facts labels for their products before they are expected to be in compliance with the final rules."
The agency noted it received approximately 50,000 comments on the new rules.
Changes include adding a declaration of Added Sugars, removing Calories from Fat, increasing some serving sizes and duplicating the whole declaration panel when a single container of product – for example, a pint of ice cream – conceivably could be eaten in one serving.