Trump Administration Gives Industry More Time to Adopt New Nutrition Fact Label

The FDA began working on its overhaul of the nutrition labels - the first in two decades - in 2014 and finalized these new labels in May 2016. The "decision by the Trump administration to delay a new round of food labeling mandates was the right decision", Michelle Minton, a consumer policy expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote in a statement.

In a letter sent earlier this year to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and other food industry groups had asked for an extension to 2021, the AP noted.

Aside from new added sugars listings, the calorie listing is to be changed to bigger, bolder type and serving sizes should be made more realistic.

FDA further explained that, "The framework for the extension will be guided by the desire to give industry more time and decrease costs, balanced with the importance of minimizing the transition period during which consumers will see both the old and the new versions of the label in the marketplace". "Just like with the menu-labeling delay, this administration is denying consumers critical information they need to make decisions, and it's throwing the food industry into disarray". Spokeswoman Deborah Kotz said in an email that details will be released at a later date. Many other large food companies have also begun designing and printing the labels, anticipating a 2018 deadline.

The public health advocates at the Center for Science in the Public Interest - a group that has long pushed for improvements to nutrition labels - argue that this delay is a disservice to consumers. That rule was supposed to go into effect last month, but was delayed until next year.

"There's just been a lot of pressure to extend the deadline", Figel said. And the Agriculture Department has delayed animal welfare standards for organic foods and sodium standards for federally subsidized school lunches. "The fact that we'll have the added sugar declaration and the percent daily value, but our competitors won't?"

That scenario is already beginning to play out in restaurants and grocery stores, where companies who scrambled to get calorie counts on their menus suddenly found themselves, as of late April, competing with chains who had done no such thing.

Additionally, the extended compliance dates are meant to give the industry more time and decrease costs, as well as minimize the transition period between the old and new versions of the label in the marketplace.

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