FDA’s announcement said the delay for implementation of the Nutrition Facts labeling rule will provide additional time for implementation and 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 new versions of the label in the marketplace.” The FDA has not yet specified a new implementation timeline.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) supports the delay for compliance with changes to the Nutrition Facts panel on food and beverages. Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, says dairy food companies are committed to giving consumers information needed to make informed choices. According to the IDFA, the delay will align the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts label changes with the USDA’s disclosure standard for bioengineered foods, which is will be issued by July 2018.
“Our member companies are hopeful that once FDA announces the new implementation timeline they will be able to avoid the confusion and extra cost incurred by changing their product labels twice—first to comply with the changes to the Nutrition Facts label and again when the [USDA] specifies how genetically engineered foods and ingredients need to be labeled,”Frye says.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association also supports the delay. Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, says the “fast-approaching compliance deadline was virtually impossible to meet without the needed final guidance documents from FDA. FDA’s extension is both reasonable and practical.”
Compliance with the rule requiring chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments to include calorie and other health information on menu items has been delayed until May 7, 2018. According to a statement released by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, the delay will allow more time for the FDA to find ways to make the rule “more flexible and less burdensome while providing useful information to consumers.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the National Consumers League filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 7 challenging the decision. Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at CSPI, says the delay of menu labeling “ill serves consumers, who need and want better information about their food choices.” The delay also “ill serves the restaurant industry, which supports menu labeling and has already invested in new menus and menu boards,” she says.
Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, says there is “absolutely no justification for further delaying this menu labeling rule.”