To comply, or not to comply: What does the nutrition labeling compliance delay mean for you?
Within twenty-four hours of posting my last post, I learned that the FDA had announced an indefinite delay in compliance with the new nutrition labeling laws. Back in March,the American Bakers Association, American Frozen Food Institute, Corn Refiners Association, Food Marketing Institute, and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), requested an compliance extension to May 2021. That's three years beyond the original deadline, which originally gave large manufacturers two years to comply and smaller ones three years! The FDA reasoned that "the framework for the extension 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 the new versions of the label in the marketplace." Well, given that many companies have already begun the transition, that last reason doesn't make any sense. We now have an extension with no deadline ( I can think of a few times in my life when I would have loved an extension with no deadline). Many companies, like Mars, who have already started the process have said they plan to continue. I'm encouraging my customers to go ahead and comply as well—unless they are using ingredients that the FDA is till finalizing guidance documents on.
The new law only benefits the consumer, and that's a good thing. After all, the mission of the FDA is to protect the health of the American people. It sure seems like they caved to the manufacturer's bottom line. I mean, what out of these changes in the new regulations wouldn't you as a consumer want to know?
The grams of "added sugars" and how much of the daily recommended limit it is
Serving sizes that are more realistic and easier to see
Updated daily recommended limits/values on sodium, dietary fiber, Vitamin D, along with adding Potassium to the list
Making calories per serving larger and easier to see
Labeling packages that are between one and two servings as one serving since people typically consume them in one sitting (like that 20oz soda)
Labeling certain foods with "per serving" and "per package" calorie and nutrition information when they can be eaten in one sitting (like that pint of ice cream)
Nobody is going to force consumers to pay attention to this information, but why wouldn't we want to provide it so that people can make informed decisions about what they eat? So, especially if you are launching a new product, go ahead and embrace the new rules. You'll have to eventually, and it might just give you an edge with consumers who care about what they are eating because you won't look like you've got something to hide.