AHPA joined 12 leading trade associations to advocate FDA to provide flexibility in its enforcement of the new nutrition labeling rules as the January 1, 2020 compliance date approaches.
In a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless, the associations, acting as the Food & Beverage Issue Alliance, requested FDA to to provide a six-month period of enforcement discretion following the compliance date. During that time, the agency would not take enforcement action against companies unable to transition their full portfolio of labels to the new format.
The letter notes that the requested increased flexibility and exercise of enforcement discretion is similar to FDA’s approach in implementing several of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) final rules and is necessary in this instance because:
- the magnitude of the task of revising all labels
- the difficulty of predicting label inventory levels and the significant cost and environmental impact of disposing of existing label inventory, and
- the fact that the existing labels would not present a risk of misleading consumers.
"Our respective member companies are deeply committed to implementing the new nutrition labeling rules and have been diligently working to update labels, many of which are already available in the marketplace," the letter states. "Many of our member companies expect that while they will have already transitioned a significant majority of product labels to the new format, it will be difficult to meet the compliance date for 100 percent of labels in time to apply the new labels to any product labeled on or after January 1, 2020. Even where the new labels will be ready, in many cases companies maintain significant inventories of the old labels, which absent enforcement discretion would need to be sent to a landfill at great cost to the company and the environment."
AHPA joined the following groups in signing the letter:
- American Bakers Association
- American Frozen Food Institute
- Corn Refiners Association
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
- Food Marketing Institute
- Independent Bakers Association
- International Dairy Foods Association
- National Automatic Merchandising Association
- National Confectioners Association
- National Grocers Association
- Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association
- SNAC International
AHPA recently issued revised herbal supplement labeling guidance to help companies comply with the new requirements