FDA Announces Flexibility in Food Labeling Requirements

Published by Matt Fishman on

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is establishing “temporary flexibility in food labeling requirements” so that U.S. food manufactures may “make minor formulation changes… without updating the ingredient list on the packaged food”.

Manufactures may make a change to product ingredients and not update the ingredients list when: “the ingredient being substituted for the labeled ingredient does not cause any adverse health effect”; “the ingredient being omitted or substituted for the labeled ingredient is not a major ingredient in the product”; and “an omission or substitution of the labeled ingredient does not have a significant impact on the finished product, including nutritional differences or functionality”.

For example, green peppers could be temporarily reduced or omitted from a vegetable quiche without a change in the ingredient list on the label. Substitution of canola oil for sunflower oil “may temporarily be appropriate without a label change” because they contain similar types of fats.

This action is said to be necessary to “help minimize the impact of supply chain disruptions on product availability associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic”. It is in accordance with a recent President Trump Executive Order which called for regulatory agencies to provide “exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery”.