FDA has announced a 60-day extension of the comment period for two major proposed rules on nutrition labeling. The extended comment period will close on August 1, 2014.
In March, FDA published two proposed rules on nutrition labeling: one a major overhaul of the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts panels, and the other updating the reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs) and serving sizes used in nutrition labeling. See our February 27th post on the proposed rules here. Since then, FDA has received many requests for an extension of the original 90-day comment period.
The proposed rules would make significant changes to nutrition labeling requirements, including the following:
- Require declaration of Added Sugars;
- Define Dietary Fiber for the first time;
- Change the four micronutrients of public health significance that must be declared to Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium;
- Revise the Daily Values for certain nutrients;
- Require maintenance of records to substantiate certain nutrient declarations (e.g., Added Sugars, Dietary Fiber) and authorize FDA inspection of those records;
- Require foods that are packaged and sold individually and contain 200% to 400% of the applicable RACC to present nutrition information for both the serving size and the entire package (i.e., “dual column” labeling); and
- Significantly alter the “look” of (i.e., the graphic requirements for) the Nutrition Facts panel.
Although the proposed rules deal with nutrition labeling, they may affect other information on food labels. For example, the proposed changes in RACCs and Daily Values may affect whether a food is eligible to make a nutrient content claim or health claim. The proposed graphic changes to the Nutrition Facts panel may also reduce the amount of label space available for other information. We recommend that all food companies understand how the proposed rules, if finalized, would impact their products.