FDA Publishes Final Guidance on Menu Labeling

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 that are part of chain with 20 or more locations. In September 2015, members were notified that the Agency had published a 53-page draft guidance, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).”

The FDA recently issued a Constituent Update announcing publication of the final guidance. The Federal Register notice (80 FR 27067; May 5, 2016) is available here. According to the Agency, “the guidance is an important resource to help businesses comply with the menu labeling final rule.” The final guidance, formatted as a Questions & Answers (Q&A) document, differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers.

JPA members were notified in March 2016, that the FDA was delaying enforcement of the rule from December 1, 2016, to the date that is one year after it issues final, Level 1 guidance on menu labeling. According to the Federal Register notice, enforcement of the final rule will commence May 5, 2017.

JPA’s legal counsel, Hogan Lovells, has prepared a memorandum summarizing the menu labeling requirements, which is available in this edition of the JPA Weekly Bulletin.

Vermont GE Food Labeling Law

According to an article recently published online by the Des Moines Register, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has told reporters that federal legislation for labeling foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients will not be completed before Vermont’s GE food labeling regulations take effect on July 1, 2016. However, in the future, Congress could still craft legislation that would preempt states from implementing mandatory labeling laws.

FSMA Technical Amendments – Produce Safety Rule

The FDA recently issued a Federal Register notice (80 FR 26466; May 3, 2016), available here, advising that the Agency has corrected a few errors (technical amendments) in the FSMA final rule, “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption.” Please see the notice for details.

FDA Recognizes Canada’s Food Safety System as Comparable to U.S.

The FDA recently issued a “Constituent Update” advising that an arrangement has been signed with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada that recognizes each other’s food safety systems as comparable. According to the FDA, “Systems Recognition establishes a framework for regulatory cooperation in a variety of areas that range from scientific collaboration to outbreak response.” FDA’s Q & A related to systems recognition, issued in 2013, is available here. A system recognition process between FDA and Australia and the European Commission is in progress.

CFIA Guidance on Allergen-Free, Gluten-Free and Precautionary Statements for Food Labeling

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently issued a notice advising that the Agency’s “Allergen-Free, Gluten-Free and Precautionary Statements” web page, available here, has been revised to expand on its currently existing guidance, including additional information on gluten-free and wheat-free claims, precautionary labeling, and allergen-free claims in conjunction with precautionary labelling. In addition, Health Canada has detailed information on gluten-free and wheat-free claims for products containing canary seed.

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