Economy

FDA delays rolling out new nutrition facts label

FDA delays rolling out new nutrition facts label

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration says it intends to delay a rule that would require food companies to label their products with a revised nutrition facts panel.

"After careful consideration", the agency said, "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". "As with its delay of menu labeling, the FDA will end up denying consumers critical information they need to make healthy food choices in a timely manner and will throw the food industry into disarray", said Jim O'Hara, CSPI's director of health promotion policy.

Specifically, the revamped label would make information on calorie counts more prominent, make serving sizes easier to understand, and point to the amount of added sugars a food or drink contains. The FDA will provide details of the extension through a Federal Register Notice at a later time, Norris 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". It's the Trump administration's latest delay of the Obama administration's rules meant to improve food labeling and make foods healthier and safer. On April 27, the FDA also delayed rules that would have required calorie counts on restaurant menus. And the Agriculture Department has delayed animal welfare standards for organic foods and sodium standards for federally subsidized school lunches. The letter was obtained by the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

There's guidance on using the current Nutrition Facts panel at the FDA . That rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but was delayed until next year. Originally, large food companies had until July 26, 2018, to comply.

"There's just been a lot of pressure to extend the deadline", Figel said.

Among the early adopters are Nabisco/Mondelez, which has rolled the labels out on its Wheat Thins crackers; PepsiCo, which has put them on Lay's chips, Fritos and Cheetos; and KIND, which makes granola bars. FDA announced that it was extending the original July 2018 deadline.

More information about the extension will be released "at a later time", the FDA said.

"The new nutrition label would allow consumers to have a better and clearer idea of the amounts of certain nutrients in their foods, as well as of ingredients they might choose to reduce or avoid, such as added sugars", Schiff said.


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