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April 2018 - Volume 18, Number 4

Hello from Food Label News! From April showers to full blown spring! We overview topics for FDA and USDA collaboration in our lead article this month. In the Food Label Community, we continue the dialogue about FDA’s anticipated final rule for an extended compliance date for new Nutrition Facts labeling expected this spring. Have a question? Pose it to the Food Label Community and hear others’ perspectives on it. If we can help, let us know!

In this issue:

Happy Spring,

Karen C. Duester, President, Food Consulting Company

Karen C. Duester, President, Food Consulting Company

FDA and USDA Collaborate to Reduce Regulatory Burdens

As food labelers are well aware, the U.S. has two regulatory agencies for food products. FDA has authority for most foods like dairy, seafood, produce and packaged foods, whereas USDA regulates most meat, poultry, catfish and certain egg products. The agencies have identified three areas of shared concern and have recently agreed to collaborate to streamline regulations.

  1. Dual-jurisdiction Food Facilities – Many facilities produce both FDA- and USDA- regulated food. For example, FDA regulates a production facility that makes cheese pizza, whereas USDA also regulates the facility if it produces pepperoni pizza as well. Another example is a facility that produces open-faced meat sandwiches regulated by USDA and also meat sandwiches enclosed between two pieces of bread, which is regulated by FDA.
  2. Produce Safety – FDA regulates growing, harvesting, packing and holding of raw fruits and vegetables through the Produce Safety rules and the Food Safety Modernization Act. However, both FDA and USDA have a role in farm inspections, together with state and local regulatory entities.
  3. Food Biotechnology – Genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is an important area for FDA and USDA collaboration. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is leading the effort to create unified federal regulations for GE foods to replace inconsistent state laws. It’s clear that FDA will be involved in the review as the new regulations will affect both FDA- and USDA-regulated food.

View FDA and USDA joint press releases here.

Bullseye: The idea of a single food agency with regulatory responsibility for all food has been proposed several times within the last decade. The food industry welcomes the new interagency collaboration, yet must continue to look to both FDA and USDA for food labeling regulations and guidance. It’s critical therefore to understand which of your products are covered by USDA’s 9 CFR rules and which are covered by FDA’s 21 CFR rules.

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Answers to Your Important Questions

Q. When calling out the grams of protein on the front-of-pack, which protein value (actual or adjusted) is declared in the callout and which is used on the nutrition facts label?
— B.E., R&D Scientist, California

A. The actual protein value expressed in grams is always required on the Nutrition Facts label and is the same value used when calling out the grams of protein elsewhere on the label. MORE

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