The FDA has extended the date for compliance with the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules. As we previously reported, the rules were finalized in May 2016 and initially set a general compliance date of July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with annual food sales of less than $10 million were given an additional year to comply.

The FDA has now issued a Federal Register notice extending the compliance dates by “approximately 1.5 years.”

The Nutrition Facts labeling rules:

  • Require an updated “Nutrition Facts” label with dual-column labeling for certain containers;
  • Require mandatory declarations for “added sugars” in grams and as a percentage of Daily Value (% DV);
  • Update the list of declared nutrients. Disclosure of vitamin D and potassium will be required. Calcium and iron will continue to be required. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required but can be included on a voluntary basis.
  • Continue to retire “Total Fat,” Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat,” but no longer require “Calories from Fat,” since research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
  • Update daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D; and
  • Update serving sizes and labeling requirements for certain package sizes.

FDA Issues Guidance in Implementing Menu Labeling Rules

In other FDA news, the FDA has issued “Menu Labeling: Supplemental Guidance for Industry” in an attempt to provide guidance concerning menu labeling rules that took effect on May 7, 2018.

The menu labeling rules require restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering substantially the same menu items, to provide calorie and nutrition information to consumers.

Covered establishments must disclose the number of calories contained in standard items on menus and menu boards. For self-service foods and foods on display, calories must be listed in close proximity and clearly associated with the standard menu item.

Businesses must also provide, upon request, the following written nutrition information for standard menu items:

  • total calories;
  • total fat;
  • saturated fat;
  • trans fat;
  • cholesterol;
  • sodium;
  • total carbohydrates;
  • sugars; fiber; and
  • protein.

In addition, two statements must be displayed—one indicating this written information is available upon request, and the other about daily calorie intake, indicating that 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.

The guidance includes an advisory of the FDA’s intent not to require nutrient declarations for calories from fat, “because the current science supports a view that the type of fat is more relevant to the risk of chronic disease than the overall caloric fat intake.”

The guidance also addresses concerns about the implementation of nutrition labeling, and provides expanded examples, including:

  • calorie disclosure signage for self-service food, including buffets and grab-and-go food;
  • various methods for providing calorie disclosure information, including for pizza;
  • criteria for distinguishing between menus and marketing material; and
  • the criteria for considering the natural variation of foods.

The FDA has stated that during the first year of implementation, it will work cooperatively with businesses to achieve compliance with the menu labeling requirements.