FDA delays rule requiring new nutrition facts panel on food

FDA delays rule requiring new nutrition facts panel on food

In 2016, the Obama administration and Food and Drug Administration released a revamp of the standard nutrition label.

A revamped nutrition facts panel created to make it easier for Americans to see how many calories and added sugars are in packaged foods and drinks is being delayed.

Jim O'Hara, director of health promotion policy for CSPI, said that the delay will only cause confusion as some companies switch to the new label as planned, ahead of others.

Although FDA announced its intention to extend the Nutrition Facts label compliance date to provide additional time for implementation, no timeline was set.

Despite the extended deadline, CPSI notes that some companies have recognized that consumers want the new information and are already putting updated labels on products.

The changes were created to emphasize serving sizes, added sugars, and calories numbers, ideally to help Americans make smarter food choices.

Additionally, the extended compliance dates are meant to give the industry more time and decrease costs, as well as minimize the transition period between the old and new versions of the label in the marketplace. It did not provide a specific deadline. The letter was obtained by the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"The current compliance deadline does not sufficiently account for the time, resources and complexity involved in label changes of this magnitude", the groups, which included the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the North American Meat Institute, said.

Now, in announcing an extension of the compliance date, the FDA issued this statement: "The agency is mindful of the importance of balancing its mission of protecting public health with the practicalities of implementing the amended labeling requirements".

"The longer you draw this out, the more confusing the marketplace becomes", he said.

"The nutrition facts panel needs to be easier to understand so that consumers can make more informed food decisions", said Arlene Stein.

The news is only the latest such move from the FDA, which delayed a calorie labeling rule for national restaurant chains by a year, until May 2018.

The rule, which had been championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, had been scheduled to go into effect on July 26, 2018. And the Agriculture Department has delayed animal welfare standards for organic foods and sodium standards for federally subsidized school lunches.

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