We wrote in this space back in March 2014 about the changes that had been proposed by the FDA to overhaul nutrition labels on packaged foods. At that time, public comment on the proposal was opened up and we waited for the industry to respond. Turns out, the American Bakers Association had significant criticism to offer in a 31-page dossier filed to the US FDA prior to the August 1 deadline for comments.
The language used is interesting as the ABA has stated that it is “deeply concerned” that the FDA does not have the authority for enforcement of the new regulations. If the FDA does not have authority to enforce the rules of the nutrition labels of our packaged foods, who will once final overhaul is complete?
Additionally, among the many points in the dossier is that the ABA is making the case for as much as a 5-year extension on the ruling before any form of repercussions can be brought back upon the manufacturers and food companies rather than the two-year compliance originally proposed.
The question perhaps that we should be asking ourselves is how long can the original proposal stay just that; A proposal? With the battle lines being drawn out in real time over major issues brought up by the ABA including the definition of dietary fiber & whether or not the FDA has the authority to enforce a mandatory sugars declaration, we certainly would be taking the “over” in terms of the timeline before reform on US nutrition facts panels are agreed upon and finalized.
“The baking industry would need a five year implementation time to implement the proposed changes to all current products,” it said. “…This extension will allow industry to conduct the necessary analysis and make the changes required under the final rules.”
In terms of compliance versus enforcement, ABA called for separate dates to “ensure that the final timeframes do not leave industry stakeholders vulnerable to state enforcement actions.”