2018 Regulatory Updates

2018 Regulatory Updates

March 14, 2018
Annette Maggi

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

From added sugars to the definition of fiber to menu labeling, the regulatory agenda is full this year. Here are current updates on key pieces of labeling regulations that impact the retail industry:

Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) Changes

On March 1, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided a status on several pieces of the new legislation for Nutrition Facts Panels.  New information includes:

  • In 2017, FDA proposed changing the implementation dates for the new NFP to January 1, 2020 for manufacturers with $10 million or more in sales and January 1, 2021 for companies with less than $10 million in sales.  FDA indicates they will finalize the compliance dates this spring.
  • FDA is changing the definition of fiber from one based on the chemical structure of the fiber to those that have physiological benefit in the human body.  The agency has received information from the food industry on a variety of non-digestible carbohydrates which they believe should be included in the definition of fiber; FDA indicates they will respond to these petitions “soon,” further defining what can be included as fiber on the NFP.
  • With the new regulation, added sugar will be included in the NFP. Petitions were submitted to the FDA related to defining sugar in maple syrup, honey and cranberry juices as added.  FDA has draft guidance indicating manufacturers of these products can use a symbol immediately after the Added Sugars Daily Value, directing consumers to truthful and not misleading language about the added sugars in each of these products.  
  • FDA has finalized guidance on reference amounts customarily consumed for the new NFP.

Menu Labeling

The compliance date for Menu Labeling, which impacts “walk away” foods at retailers with more than 20 stores under the same name, is honestly and truly scheduled to go into effect on May 7, 2018.  All guidance related to this regulation is available here.

Biotech Labeling

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Law was enacted by Congress on July 29, 2016 and gave the Agricultural Marketing Services division of USDA two years to establish the specifics related to labeling of biotechnology.  With July 2018 looming, there has been limited activity out of USDA on this front.  The most recent activity was the posting of 30 questions to capture stakeholder input, for which comments were due on August 25, 2017.