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Food Industry seeking Regulatory delays

The Obama-era put requirements on the food industry to include:

  • Calorie counts on menus by May of this year.menu2Since the Trump administrations, petitions have been filed to delay or even stop regulations put into play by the Obama administration.
  • New food labels that would put serving size and calorie information in large, boldfaced font and call out the amount of sugars added. All changes that had been due to take effect in July 2018 for large companies and July 2019 for smaller companies.
  • Stricter definition of dietary fiber on bread and snack companies by July 2018.

Who is Petitioning?

According to an article in the Washington Post, the industry petitioned that the FDA reconsider the regulation requesting calorie counts on menus. A lawyer for the National Association of Convenience Stores and the National Grocers Association argued: “The Final Rule is exactly the kind of regulation that the new Administration has opposed and/or halted since January 20 through various Presidential actions.” As of April 27, the FDA filed notice to delay the menu-labeling deadline.

Industry groups have also asked the FDA to delay the rollout of new food labels by 3 years.

The American Bakers Association has asked the agency to rescind the new stricter dietary fiber definition which is do to take effect July 2018 as well. The Washington Post article also states lawyers for the American Bakers Association wrote in an April petition, “FDA should adopt a less burdensome definition of dietary fiber.” The petition then goes on to cite Trump’s Jan. 30 executive order, which requires government agencies to rescind two rules for each rule promulgated. (A representative of the ABA declined to comment.)

What does the new administration mean for the food industry?

There is no doubt this administration has embarked on one of the largest regulatory rollbacks in decades.  According to the Washington Post, industry groups are anticipating that the FDA will become more business-friendly under the new secretary of Health Human Services.

Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner also indicated during his confirmation hearing that he would be open to adjusting food and nutrition rules passed under Obama. “As a general matter, I support providing clear, accurate, and understandable information to American consumers to help inform healthy dietary choices,” Gottlieb wrote, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. “ … However, I am mindful of the unique challenges that developing and communicating such information can pose, particularly on small, independent businesses.”

FDA spokeswoman Debrah Kotz

According to the Washington post, In a statement, FDA spokeswoman Deborah Kotz said that the agency was aware of industry concerns about fiber, menu-labeling and the new Nutrition Facts panels, and that it was carefully reviewing them. At present, the compliance dates still stand.

With regard to menu labels — the most time-sensitive of the three issues flagged by industry — Kotz said that “the FDA is aware of the concerns on the part of many entities … the agency is taking these concerns seriously as it considers how to best fulfill its public health mission while minimizing regulatory burdens.”

The FDA has given little indication of how it will respond to the American Bakers Association’s requests.

The Obama administration believed that these changes needed to happen to help the people manage calorie intake and cut sugar.  What the Trump administration believes is the right thing to do for the industry and the consumer is yet to be seen.

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