Update: FDA Signals Enforcement Will Not Be Used To Ensure Compliance With New Nutrition Facts Labeling Requirements — For Now

Automatic labeling machine during operation

In May 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published final rules on the new labeling requirements for the Nutrition Facts label.  The purpose of these updates was to allow consumers to make better informed choices about the food they consume.  Manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales were required to switch to the new label by January 1, 2020, while smaller manufacturers were given an extra year to comply.  Yet, 2020 has been anything but a “normal” year.  Recognizing the impacts of COVID-19, the FDA recently acknowledged that smaller manufacturers might need additional support as they transition over to the new Nutrition Facts label.

Last week, the FDA announced that it would not focus on enforcement actions against manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales to achieve compliance with the new Nutrition Facts label requirements. However, the FDA reiterated that the compliance by the deadline of January 1, 2021 is still required.

The FDA’s position is consistent with its prior approach to enforcing the new requirements against larger manufacturers, choosing to require compliance but deferring enforcing actions as a tool to achieve it during 2020.  Even so, smaller manufacturers should be well on their way in updating their labeling as we head into the final quarter of the year.  The changes to the Nutrition Facts label have been announced and publicized for some time by the FDA and the food industry, as a whole.  Nevertheless, should any of you food manufacturers out there have questions regarding your existing labeling, labeling changes or FDA regulations concerning food labeling in general, the attorneys at Wendel Rosen are well-prepared to provide the necessary guidance to assist you in achieving regulatory compliance.

Published by Bill Acevedo

I am the Chair of Wendel Rosen LLP's Green Business Practice Group, and I am the Co-Chair of my firm's Food and Beverage Group. My practice focuses on manufacturing and food, dietary supplement and cosmetic companies. I provide outside general counsel services to my clients, which include: entity formation, business and legal advice on proposed business transactions, general contract negotiation and drafting, brand and licensing protection, corporate governance, capital raises, and M&A transactions. Additionally, I assist my clients with labeling, advertising, and FDA regulatory compliance matters. In addition to my corporate transactional practice, I handle all manner of business litigation, such as labeling/advertising claims, contractual disputes, trade secret matters, partnership disputes, product liability claims, director and officer liability, and unfair business practices claims.

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