FDA Food Labeling Rules: Will The Deadline Be Extended?

The deadline for the FDA’s new food labelling rules will be extended as per their announcement on Tuesday, June 13th. The new date is not known at this time, but we will keep you updated as details become available.

In early May 2017, the FDA issued a last-minute reprieve on a food labeling rule that was set to take effect on May 5 and would require all U.S. restaurants with more than 20 locations to display calorie counts on their menus. The proposition was originally included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and its implementation has been delayed twice already. Restaurants now have until May 7, 2018 to comply with the new menu labeling rule.

NFT label old vs. new

This has prompted many in the packaged food industry to ask: will new food labeling rules for the Nutrition Facts Table also be subject to a delayed deadline? Right now, the new NFT regulations are set to take effect on July 26, 2018 for manufacturers with over $10 million in annual sales, and July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales.

Proponents of a delayed deadline argue that other propositions in front of the FDA regarding mandatory GMO labeling could result in further changes to NFT regulations, resulting in the added expense of a second redesign too soon in the future.

Others say that waiting until the FDA reaches a ruling on GMO labeling—which could take many years—will hurt consumers who need access to better nutrition information now, not later.

The FDA has not officially commented on moving the July 2018 deadline, other than to confirm that they are hearing arguments from either side and considering their options.

Many forward-thinking manufacturers have already become compliant with the new regulations well ahead of the current deadline. They may have been planning a package redesign on their own timeline as well, presenting an excellent opportunity to also update their NFTs.

What we know after 60 years in the flexible packaging industry is that winning brands don’t wait to see what everyone else is going to do before taking action. We’re proud to have teamed up with leaders in the frozen food, pet food, and towel and tissue industries to create innovative packages that get noticed by peers and consumers. Regardless of when the FDA NFT deadline ends up being, we know companies that seize the opportunity to make a change for the better will be the winners on the shelf in 2018 and beyond.

Ready to reach new levels of innovation with your flexible packaging, and get the peace of mind that comes with NFT compliance ahead of the deadline? Our R&D department and Project Central are waiting to make your next big packaging idea a reality. Click here to start a conversation with Project Central today.