The current compliance deadline is July 26, 2018. If passed, the new deadlines would be:
- Jan. 1, 2020 for manufacturers with >$10 million in annual sales
- Jan. 1, 2021 for manufacturers with <$10 million in annual sales
The deadline extension is a response to continued manufacturer and trade association concerns that they feel more time is necessary for full rule implementation. Food industry stakeholders have also requested clarification on several technical issues that have come up as a result of the final rules.
Pamela G. Bailey, GMA’s president and CEO made a statement regarding the extension. “FDA’s new compliance date will provide companies with the necessary time to execute these updates to the Nutrition Facts Panel in a manner that will reduce consumer confusion and costs in the marketplace.”
Some were not so optimistic about the date extension. Dr. Peter G. Lurie, President of Center for Science in the Public Interest says, “The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to cave in to food industry demands and delay the deadline for companies to update their Nutrition Facts labels harms the public’s health, denies consumers vital information, and creates an unfair and confusing marketplace as many companies have gone ahead with the labels anyway.”
Adoption of the new labels to date
Despite attitudes towards the new labeling system and associated deadlines, more than 8,000 products were in circulation this summer featuring the new label. That number is expected to rise by 15,000 by the end of the year.
Early adopters are making moves towards greater transparency for their consumers, which is critical for long-term success. According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, the majority of Americans want the government to require food labels on all food packaging – even if they don’t read them. In a survey from Label Insight, 94% of respondents reported they are likely to be more loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
If you have comments regarding the proposed extension, starting today, the FDA is taking comments for 30 days. You can submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov.