USDA Nutrition Facts Rule Placed on Inactive Actions List

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For the first time, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released, along with its Unified Agenda, an ‘Inactive Actions List’ of regulations being reviewed or considered. On the list includes the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) nutrition facts changes that apply to meat, poultry and egg products.

According to the White House, the Unified Agenda, which is published twice a year to provide transparency on the actions administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term, “represents ongoing progress toward the goals of more effective and less burdensome regulation.”

With the USDA’s nutrition facts changes for meat, poultry and egg products being place on the ‘Inactive Actions List’ before being finalized, USDA regulated products will not bear the new nutrition rule format; unless USDA- regulated food manufacturers voluntarily use the new format.

Changes to the nutrition facts label, which parallel the changes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size rules, were being made due to a proposed rule to revise the nutrition label requirements with regards to reflect current scientific research and dietary recommendations by the USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS).

According to a USDA press release, the revision included:

  • Updating the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared;
  • Providing updated Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports;
  • Amending the labeling requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of 4 years and pregnant women and lactating women and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups;
  • Revising the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label;
  • Amending the definition of a single-serving container;
  • Requiring a dual-column labeling for certain containers;
  • Updating and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts); and
  • Consolidating the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part.

The administration has also placed on the ‘Inactive Actions List’ rules on the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals, organic standards on aquaculture, organic pet food and more.

In addition, the FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size final rule compliance date – for July 18, 2018 – has been delayed for an indefinite time. The postponement comes after a request for more time from companies and trade groups.

“Numerous stakeholders have informed us that they have significant concerns about their ability to update all their labels by the compliance date due to issues regarding (among other things) the need for upgrades to labeling software, getting nutrition information from suppliers, the number of products that would need new labels, and a limited time for the reformulation of products,” the FDA explained.

Changes to the new Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size included changes to the calorie count, serving sizes shown more prominently, more details on added sugars and an update on recommended daily intake values.

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 8/4/2017

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