June 22, 2017

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Nutrition Facts Label Deadline Extended

FDA Intends to Extend Compliance Dates for Nutrition Facts Label Final Rules

Updated Jun 22, 2017: Scott Gottlieb assured the Senate “This is a time-limited delay. This is not a suspension of the regulation. We are not reopening the regulation.”  Source Keller and Heckman LLP.

Posted June 14, 2017

In May 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts Label and Serving Size final rules and set the compliance date for July 26, 2018, with an additional year to comply for manufacturers with annual food sales of less than $10 million. After those rules were finalized, industry and consumer groups provided the FDA with feedback regarding the compliance dates. After careful consideration, the FDA determined that additional time would provide manufacturers covered by the rule with necessary guidance from FDA, and would help them be able to complete and print updated nutrition facts panels for their products before they are expected to be in compliance.

As a result, the FDA intends to extend the compliance dates to provide the additional time for implementation. The framework for the extension will be guided by the desire to give industry more time and decrease costs, balanced with the importance of minimizing the transition period during which consumers will see both the old and the new versions of the label in the marketplace. The FDA will provide details of the extension through a Federal Register Notice at a later time. (Source: FDA — Note: The FDA buried the information under “compliance date” section.)

Knowledge Bank’s take – you can check out the following to see the diverging opinions as to ‘why’ the extension.

  • Food Navigator–  ACI FOOD LAW FORUM: GMO labeling blues, Nutrition Facts delays, daily values and de-fortification, and will the FDA ever nail down natural?
  • CNBC – FDA delays rule requiring new nutrition facts panel on food
  • The National Law Review -FDA to Extend Compliance Dates for Nutrition Facts Label Changes
  • Associated Press / The New York Time – FDA Delays Revamped Nutrition Facts Panel


June 22, 2017

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Mutant Cows – A labeling claim that went too far.

Arla Foods had launched a massive ‘Live Unprocessed’ campaign, depicting bovine growth hormone rbST as a six-eyed monster. Needless to say a lawsuit was filed for “false claims.”  (Source Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel   June 6th “Lawsuit says dairy ads portray bovine growth hormone rbST as a six-eyed monster”)

Which promptly resulted in  Judge order[ing] Arla Foods to halt ‘Live unprocessed’ campaign: ‘Ads create false impression that rbST is something foreign and dangerous’ (Source Elaine Watson, 15-Jun-2017, Updated 21-Jun-2017)

Knowledge Bank’s take – labels and more broadly labeling is all about being truthful and non-misleading. Consumers want and demand transparency.  Just because you develop a cute campaign or even a fancy label, does not mean that you can simply add a footnote (* † see back panel) to make everything better.  In other words you can be creative; you can’t hide the facts.


June 12, 2017

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Head of Cauliflower

Name that Food: Rice – Not Cauliflower!

WWL Radio station brings us this article

Louisiana rice in a food fight with cauliflower


JUNE 12, 2017 – 7:09 AM
Louisiana’s most popular grain is in a food fight with a vegetable…over the US government’s [food] definitions….has flared up again. The rice industry is not happy with the emergence of ‘cauliflower rice.’  … the issue is similar to a concern for milk farmers, who’ve grown increasingly angry about plant-based food companies (think soy, almond, and cashews) calling their liquid products ‘milk.’  Full article

Knowledge Bank’s take – Product names are important.  They are so important that people will fight over them. It is perfectly normal that when you enter a market the existing stakeholders will notice and will react if they think you are encroaching on “their” name.

Before naming a product, do your homework and research the regulatory and competitive landscape.  Picking a name is a balancing act between regulatory definition,  popular meaning and the stakeholders with similar names.

In this case, rice is certainly a grain. But it’s also possible to rice a potato or vegetable by forcing it through a ricer, to create rice sized version of the vegetable.

Where this fight will go is anyone’s guess.  But remember names are important; and name calling can start a fight.

June 5, 2017

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Prop 65 Hearing on Lead in Candy – Rescheduled to July 6th

Hearing on Petition Requesting Adoption of Regulations Setting a “Naturally Occurring” Lead Level in Candy Containing Chili and Tamarind

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has decided to hold a public hearing in response to a petition from the Center for Environmental Health requesting that OEHHA “commence the regulatory process to issue regulations pursuant to Health & Safety Code §110552 setting a ‘naturally occurring’ lead level in candy containing chili and tamarind.”  Pursuant to requests from interested parties, the hearing has been rescheduled for July 6, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the Sierra Hearing Room at the CalEPA Headquarters building at 1001 I Street in Sacramento.  The hearing will be webcast at https://video.calepa.ca.gov/(link is external) (not active until the day and time of the hearing).  Notice and background documents are provided below.

June 5, 2017

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Four Gluten Free Icons

FDA Finds 99.5% of foods sampled comply with “gluten-free”

You can breath a sigh of relief. When it comes to “Gluten-free” the industry is doing a good job.  The FDA recently reported its findings. A copy of their release is below.

FDA Sampling Finds High Level of Compliance with Gluten-Free Standards

Constituent Update

May 30, 2017

More than 99.5 percent of sampled food products labeled “gluten-free” are in compliance with FDA’s requirement that such foods have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten.

This is the finding of an FDA sampling assignment in which 702 samples from more than 250 products labeled “gluten free” were collected and analyzed. Only one of those products was found to not comply with one of the major FDA requirements that went into effect in August 2014 for manufacturers using the term “gluten-free” on their labeling. This product was recalled and subsequent sampling by the FDA did not find levels of gluten that violated the regulation.

FDA set standards for gluten-free labeling to give consumers with celiac disease confidence about what the term “gluten-free” means on foods that carry this label. May is Celiac Awareness Month. People with this disease are at risk of very serious health problems if they eat gluten, found in breads, cakes, cereals, pasta and many other foods containing wheat and related grains. The sampling was undertaken from July 2015 to August 2016 to gauge the level of compliance with one of the major requirements of the gluten-free labeling rule.

For More Information

June 5, 2017

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Menu-Labeling Regulations – Congressional Subcommittee June 9th

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Common Sense Solution to Menu-Labeling Regulations

Jun 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Friday, June 9, 2017, at 9 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining H.R. 772, The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017.”

#SubHealth will examine committee member and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-WA), H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, legislation to provide clarity and flexibility for small businesses from costly and burdensome regulations.

“The Trump administration’s announcement last month to delay the rule and reopen the FDA’s comment period was an important step for small businesses that have felt the burdens of the mandate. It also gives us an opportunity to reexamine how we best empower consumers with information,” said Chairman Burgess. “Next week’s hearing is an important opportunity to further discuss Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ bill and the FDA’s efforts in moving toward a more reasonable standard that works for both consumers and small businesses.”

The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted.


May 5, 2017

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a single Cacao Pod picture

Fair Trade – Ethical Label Claims

What does it mean to be fair trade?

You can test your own understanding of fair trade.  Look at the four logos below from Fair for Life, Fair Trade USA,Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance . What is their percentage of ethical ingredients? If you need to cheat and see the answers…here’s the original Washington Post comparison “Your ethical chocolate might be only 20 percent ‘ethical’” .

Fair for Life LogoFairtrade International logoRainforest Alliance Certified Logo

Knowledge Bank’s take:  Providing consumers with choices that align to their food philosophies is just good business.  Certifications are good, but understand your risks.    Make sure your marketing team and more broadly your customers understand what the certifications mean.  Align and harmonize your romance copy to the certification’s meaning and not what you might think it might mean.  Ensure you have systems in place to document and manage your supply chain.


May 5, 2017

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Snail racing to finish line

Restaurant Nutrition Labeling Deadline Extended

Steady but sure…

Restaurant labeling deadline to be extended. “In the Federal Register of December 30, 2016, we [FDA] stated that the compliance date for the final rule would be May 5, 2017. We are extending the compliance date to May 7, 2018. We are taking this action to enable us to consider how we might further reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility while continuing to achieve our regulatory objectives, in keeping with the Administration’s policies.”

When you read the May 4th 2017 Federal Register, you might think you have a reprieve and you do!  But don’t lose sight, that you will eventually need to cross the finish line. You will need to provide your restaurant customers with nutritional information.

Marketers know consumers need good information to make informed decisions about their food and health.  Take the reprieve to hone your systems. Start (if you haven’t already) providing nutritional information.  Then just update your format when the final ruling goes into effect.

See also:

April 24, 2017

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Gummy Bears for Article on Synthetic Dyes

Synthetic Dyes In Foods – The Next Prop 65

Once again California is proposing far reaching legislation. Senate Bill 504 on synthetic dyes in foods would impact the entire industry just like California Proposition 65.

State Senator Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat, introduced California SB 504, a bill that would require warning labels on all food containing synthetic dyes, including those sold in restaurants. If passed, the law would be the first of its kind in any state.

The FDA regulates color additives (including synthetic dyes and natural food dyes) to ensure they are safe. Which essentially means –  “there is convincing evidence that establishes with reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the intended use of the color additive” 21 §70.3 Color Additives Definitions.




For far too long, the Food and Drug Administration has failed to protect families from Red 40, Yellow 5, and the other synthetic dyes that color America’s food supply. Considering that some children clearly are adversely affected by dyes and that dyes play only a cosmetic role in food, the FDA should phase them out altogether


So, the Senator along Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), co-sponsor of the bill.  “…hope California enacts the sensible and science-based legislation being introduced today, as long as the FDA is going to remain firmly planted on the sidelines, it makes perfect sense for California and other states to protect kids and their families from synthetic dyes.”


April 24, 2017

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Food Label Choices

2017 Food Label Insight Shopper Report

In March of 2017, Label Insight surveyed more than 1,000 consumers about their dietary preferences, the food label, and their ability to find information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. The report is available for free download. Key findings include: 98% of consumers believe it’s important for them to consider the food label ingredients inRead more

shopper trends.png

Key findings include:

  • 98% of consumers believe it’s important for them to consider the food label ingredients in the products they buy.
  • Nearly half of consumers are currently following a diet program.
  • 67% find it challenging to determine whether a food product meets their needs by reviewing the food label.
  • Nearly half of consumers consider themselves to be “not informed at all about the product” even after reading the food label.




Knowledge Bank’s opinion:  The report shows us that brands have a great opportunity to get better.  Consumers are confused. Companies are using terms like non-GMO and organic, that are confusing to consumers.   Consumers think these terms have one meaning but in reality they mean something else —  see also The Truth about Food Label Claims.

Since companies already have to change their labels for the new nutrition facts regulations  (see FDA Finalizes new Nutrition label rules) companies have an opportunity to recraft their labels with clearer messages at the same time.