FDA and USDA have issued temporary policies on nutrition labeling that will make it easier for restaurants and food manufacturers to sell food that was not originally intended for retail sale.
To facilitate the distribution of food during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released a guidance document, Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, to provide restaurants and food manufacturers with flexibility regarding nutrition labeling of certain packaged food.
For food manufacturers that have inventory on hand that is labeled for use in restaurants, the FDA does not intend to object to the sale of packaged food that lacks a Nutrition Facts label by food manufacturers, provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims and contains other required information on the label, including the following, as applicable:
- a statement of identity,
- an ingredient statement,
- the name and place of business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor,
- net quantity of contents, and
- allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
Finally, if retail packaging for certain food products is unavailable, the FDA does not intend to object to the further production of food labeled for use in restaurants that is intended to be sold other than to restaurants until retail packaging is available. Although the guidance is being implemented immediately, it remains subject to comment according to the agency’s good guidance practices.
FDA’s enforcement policy will remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19 declared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The FSIS labeling provisions will remain in effect for the next 60 days starting on March 26, 2020.
Separate from this guidance, FDA intends to work cooperatively with manufacturers for the remainder of the year regarding using updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels and will not focus on enforcement actions during this time. FDA previously announced that it would do so for the first six months following the January 1, 2020, compliance date.