The FDA is delaying compliance with revised nutrition labels on food products. Earlier, food companies had to make services sizes and sugar amounts clearer on the package. The serving size and calorie count had to be mentioned more clearly on the nutrition label. Manufacturers were given time till 26 Jul 2018 to comply with the new nutrition labels. An extra year for compliance was granted to smaller companies. However, now the FDA could be giving additional time for compliance. The details of the extension are not clear yet.
Here are three reasons why FDA is delaying new nutrition labels.
Industry Group Advocacy
Many industry groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association have suggested that the compliance deadline should be 2021 and not 2018. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, obtained a letter sent by the association. The letter was addressed to Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary and sent earlier this year. The association demanded that companies should be given more time to comply with the new orders.
FDA’s Vague Guidelines
The Grocery Manufacturers Association has claimed that certain guidelines by the FDA are not clear. This includes the classification of certain products as fiber, sugar etc. The FDA still needs to evaluate how to categorize some substances which could lead to confusion amongst the manufacturers. The association said that they want to comply with the order and play a role in informed decision making. However, they are unable to work through the details of their products as commonly used ingredients still need to be classified clearly.
FDA Is Delaying Other Rules As Well
This is not the first rule delayed by the FDA. A rule of displaying calorie counts for foods [prepared in restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores was also delayed. The rule had to come in effect last month but has now been delayed till next year. This rule made it compulsory for all the aforementioned businesses to display the calorie counts of all foods they carried. This inconsistency on the part of FDA to establish rules and execute them is creating problems everywhere. Some businesses have started complying the rule but now the deadline has been extended.
Federally subsidized school lunches had to comply with sodium standards. On the other hand, organic foods had to comply with animal welfare standards. The Agriculture Department delayed both these recently.
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