May 20, 2016Client Alert

FDA Issues Sweeping New Rules on Food Labeling and Serving Sizes

On May 20, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made available pre-publication versions of two final rules on food labeling. These final rules, which are scheduled to be published on May 27, 2016, revise requirements for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts panel labels and change the rules on determination of serving sizes.

Among the changes to the food labeling rules is a new requirement to provide information on the amount of sugar added to food. The Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels are being amended to include the amount of added sugars in grams and the percent Daily Value those added sugars represent. According to the final rule at 21 C.F.R. 101.9(c)(6)(iii), “[a]dded sugars are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type. . . .” The daily reference value for added sugar in adults and children four years and older is 50 grams.

Along with formatting changes and inclusion of added sugar, there are other changes to food labeling. The requirement to list the amount of calories from fat has been removed. With regards to nutrients, Vitamin D and potassium will soon be required to be included on the label, replacing Vitamins A and C, which are now optional. Calcium and iron will continue to be required under the rules.

FDA has also revised serving sizes for a number of foods. These changes are consistent with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-535), which mandates that the serving size of food be set according to the amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. FDA notes that the amount that people are eating and drinking has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. FDA provides, as examples, the reference amount for a serving of ice cream, which is changing from ½ cup to ⅔ cup, and a serving of soda, which is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces. Certain foods will also require a multi-column Nutritional Facts panel showing both the nutrients in one serving alongside the nutrients in the entire package.

We will continue to provide industry updates on these new rules, which are set to go into effect for most manufacturers on July 26, 2018. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply. Our team has experience advising on food labeling laws and regulations and can assist you with developing compliance strategies for these new rules.

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