Back in June, we reported that the FDA had suspended the implementation of the new Nutrition Facts label & serving size rules, which had been finalized during the Obama administration. At the time, FDA did not provide any indication of whether or when it would require companies to comply with those rules. Since then, we’ve generally been advising a “wait and see” approach, promising to update our clients as the situation develops. Almost three months later, the FDA has signaled its intentions to move forward with the implementation of the new rules, but to do so on an extended timeline, providing an additional two years before making compliance mandatory.
Under the FDA’s latest proposal, manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales would have until to January 2020 to comply. All other manufacturers get an additional year — until January 2021 — to comply. At this point, the extended timelines are just a proposal and the FDA is accepting comments on this action until November 1, 2017. Any person or entity that has concerns about or wishes to express support for the proposed timing may submit a comment through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Nevertheless, absent unforeseen developments, it seems likely that the proposed deadlines will become official shortly after the comment period closes.
As a reminder, the new label is designed to highlight information about calories and serving sizes in packaged food and drinks with large font with bold lettering. Among other things, it also requires disclosure of added sugars and information about the amount, not just the percent Daily Value of certain vitamins and minerals. Importantly, the rules also change the serving sizes for some products.
Until the new timeline becomes a final rule and the new deadlines pass, it is permissible to stick with the classic format. At the same time, it is permissible to switch to the new Nutrition Facts label formats and serving size rule as soon as you are ready. And if you’ve already done so, you are ahead of the game — no need to switch back.
When you are ready to make the switch, Handel Food Law can help you to update your labels.