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FDA Releasing Proposed Rule to Extend Compliance Dates for New Nutrition Facts Labels - Washington Report

Food manufacturers are getting an extra 18 to 30 months to begin putting revised Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts and Serving Size labels on their products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced it is releasing a proposed rule to extend the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label final rule and the Serving Size final rule from July 26, 2018 to January 1, 2020, for manufactuers with $10 million or more in annual food sales.  Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would receive an extra year to comply to January 1, 2021. FDA finalized the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules in May 2016.

FDA determined that additional time would provide manufacturers covered by the rule, and with necessary guidance from the agency, would help them to design and print updated nutrition facts panels for their producter before they are expected to comply.

The new nutrition facts label, according to FDA, will help consumers make “better informed food choices.” The added information is supposed to link diet and chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease to better inform consumers.

Meanwhile, a majority of Americans want the U.S. government to require nutrition labels on food packaging, including people who do not read them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Eighty-four percent of adults agreed that “the government should require nutrition information labels on all packaged food sold in grocery stores” and 64 percent wanted similar requirements for restaurants, according to the poll.

Most people wanted those labels even though relatively few said they read them. Only 13 percent said they “always” read the nutrition facts when deciding to buy a product.

Poll respondents who were curious about nutrition information were mostly interested in how it could affect their waistlines. Sixty percent or more said they wanted to know about sugar, calories, salt and fat content in packaged food.  For some, it’s a matter of trying to follow a doctor’s orders.

Less than half of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for foods that are organic, grass-fed or contain no added sugars or genetically-engineered ingredients. The item the majority of Americans would consider paying more for is locally-grown food, at 57 percent.

The poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States from July 8 to July 17. It included responses from 3,024 adults and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 2 percentage points.