July 13, 2015
TO: JPA Members
FROM: Patricia Faison
JPA Regulatory Update
1. FDA Extends Menu Labeling Compliance Date
2. Organic Equivalence Agreement Signed Between the U.S. and Switzerland
3. IFU News
4. Amendment to the House Appropriations Bill to Protect Companies from PHO Lawsuits
5. Taiwan Food Labeling Regulations
FDA Extends Menu Labeling Compliance Date
JPA has provided updates regarding final rules published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 to require calorie information and other nutrition information for standard menu items sold/served in restaurants and retail food establishments. It was noted that the compliance date for the menu labeling rule is December 1, 2015.
The FDA recently issued a Constituent Update, available here, announcing the Agency is extending the compliance date for covered businesses to December 1, 2016. The Federal Register notice (80 FR 39675; July 10, 2015) is available here. The FDA notes industry, trade and other associations have requested an additional year to comply with the final rule, and the Agency agrees additional time is needed to provide guidance to the industry. The Agency is planning to publish a draft guidance in August 2015 to provide answers to questions posed by businesses impacted by the final rule. The FDA will also provide educational and technical assistance for businesses and regulatory partners at the state, local and tribal level to support compliance nationwide.
Organic Equivalence Agreement Signed Between the U.S. and Switzerland
JPA has provided updates regarding the National Organic Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced that the United States and Switzerland have signed an organic equivalence arrangement permitting organic products certified in the U.S. or Switzerland to be sold as organic in either country effective July 10, 2015. The USDA’s News Release is available here. According to the Agency, the arrangement “will streamline organic trade, strengthen organic agriculture and support jobs and businesses on a global scale.” JPA members were earlier notified of equivalence agreements between the U.S. and Canada, European Union, Japan and Korea.
The International Federal of Fruit Juice Producers (IFU) recently published its 2014 Annual Report, which can be accessed here. The Report provides details regarding IFU activities including reports by the Commission for Legislation, Scientific & Technical Commission and the Commission on Methods of Analysis.
IFU also issued the June 2015 Newsletter, which can be accessed here. The newsletter provides updates from the Arab Beverage Association, European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle Des Jus De Fruits (UNIJUS/France) and Verband Der Deutschen Fruchtsaft-Industrie E.V. (VDF/Germany).
Amendment to the House Appropriations Bill to Protect Companies from PHO Lawsuits
As you may recall, the FDA recently issued a declaratory order announcing the Agency’s final determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in any human food. The FDA established June 18, 2018 as the compliance date to allow, in part, products to be reformulated to remove PHOs or to allow companies to submit a food additive petition. Concerns have been raised that the FDA did not address the potential for lawsuits to be filed against companies that currently use industrially-produced PHOs in their products.
According to a press release recently published by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, available here, the Committee has approved the fiscal year 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The press release states, “The proposed legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs.” Of particular note, the Committee approved an amendment by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) to include a provision “to grant legal protections from frivolous lawsuits to the users of partially hydrogenated oils until the compliance date issued by FDA.”
Specifically, the amendment approved by the House Committee on Appropriations states the following:
"Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall publish a notice in the Federal Register clarifying that until the compliance date specified in the order published by the Food and Drug Administration in the Federal Register on June 17, 2015…partially hydrogenated oils shall be considered generally recognized as safe within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act…”
In essence, the amendment proposes that the date PHOs would no longer be considered GRAS would be the same as the compliance date (i.e., date for reformulation). The appropriations bill has yet to be approved by the full House and Senate.
Taiwan Food Labeling Regulation
According to an article in The China Post (online), available here, new food labeling requirements issued by Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became effective on July 1, 2015. The article notes the new labeling requirements pertain to the declaration of trans fat, sugar, allergens and genetically engineered (GE)ingredients. Another resource, ChemLink, notes new labeling formats have been developed and daily reference values for a variety of nutrients have been published. Taiwan News also provides some details regarding the trans fat labeling regulation, available here.
A summary of Taiwan's GE food labeling regulation can be accessed via the USDA’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) Report, which is available here. According to the report, products directly diverted from GE raw materials such as soybean oil, corn starch and syrup, and soy sauce must be labeled.
Details reported in the news regaring the labeling regulations are not consistent. If your firm is conducting business in Taiwan, consult with an official source for details regarding the new labeling requirements.
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