The Food and Drug Administration has extended for about 18 months the compliance dates for final rules updating the “Nutrition Facts” label for packaged foods and making minor corresponding changes to the “Supplement Facts” label found on dietary supplements. The FDA has previously said this delay responds to concerns raised by companies and trade associations regarding upgrades to labeling software, obtaining nutrition information from suppliers, the number of products that would need new labels, and a limited time for reformulation of products.

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The new requirements apply to all packaged foods, both imported and domestically produced, except certain meat, poultry, and processed egg products, which are regulated by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Most food manufacturers will now be required to use the new label by Jan 1, 2020 (rather than July 26, 2018) and those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have until Jan. 1, 2021 (rather than July 26, 2019).

The new “Nutrition Facts” label will include the following.

- declaration of grams and percent daily value for added sugars

- updated serving sizes that more closely reflect the amounts people currently eat and drink

- dual column labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for certain multi-serving food products that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings

- declaration of potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and iron that includes the actual gram amount in addition to the percent daily value (listing vitamins A and C will now be voluntary)

- updated daily values for a variety of nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D

- removal of “calories from fat” declaration because current science supports a view that the type of fat (e.g., saturated fat or trans fat, which continues to be required) is more relevant than overall total fat intake in increased risk of chronic diseases

- a refreshed format emphasizing certain elements such as calories and servings

Manufacturers must make certain written records to verify the declarations of dietary fiber, added sugars, vitamin E, and folate and folic acid in covered food labeling and keep those records for at least two years after the food is introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce.

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