FSIS Announces That It Will Allow Use of Amended/New FDA Nutrition Facts Format for Meat and Poultry Product Labels

November 17, 2016

By Riëtte van Laack

As previously reported, on May 27, 2016, FDA published the final rules regarding nutrition labeling and serving sizes.  The amended regulations came into effect on July 26, 2016 and the compliance date is July 26, 2018 for all manufacturers, except for manufacturers with less than 10 million in annual food sales (for whom the compliance date is July 26, 2019). FSIS has yet to publish the proposed amendments to its nutritional labeling regulations similar to FDA’s amendments.  (FSIS’s proposed rule, which had been under OMB review since July, just cleared review on November 15, 2016.)  In the interim, FSIS announced that it will allow meat and poultry labels to use the new FDA format until such time as FSIS finalizes its own nutrition labeling and serving size regulations.

Meat and poultry companies that wish to use the new FDA format for meat and poultry products cannot do so generically, i.e., without prior review by FSIS. They must submit a sketch label to FSIS. However, to avoid an adverse effect on the FSIS label review backlog, FSIS will review only one label per corporation. Subsequent similar labels of that corporation that use the new FDA format can be generically approved.  FSIS believes that this procedure will help ensure that the labels will be in compliance with FDA’s regulations.

Although FSIS’s amended nutrition labeling regulations likely will be similar to FDA’s, there is no guarantee that they will be identical. Thus, companies that decide to use the new FDA format may need to change the format again when FSIS issues its final regulations.

Comments to FSIS regarding this announcement may be submitted any time.