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Nutrition Facts Delay More Like 18 Months, Not 12

Statement of CSPI Health Promotion Policy Director Jim O’Hara

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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that he misspoke to Politico Pro in announcing yesterday that the delay in the updated Nutrition Facts labels would be for a year.

In a tweet, the commissioner said that the delay will now be “closer to 18 months,” or January 2020.

Forty-two public health and consumer groups, 71 leading scientists, and 11 big city health departments have called on the FDA to maintain the July 2018 compliance date for large food companies, and the July 2019 date for food companies with annual sales below $10 million.  The FDA’s own economic analysis pegs the benefit for consumers at $78 billion over 20 years compared to a cost of $4.6 billion to industry.

Consumers need these new labels to reduce their risk of diet-related disease, and, in particular, to know how much added sugars are in the foods they buy.  

As a practical matter, many of the largest food companies are out ahead of the FDA.  Mars, Panera, Campbell, Hershey, and Kind have all said that they are working toward a July 2018 rollout of the updated labels.  Label Insight, a company that tracks industry labeling, reported in July an “exponential” upsurge in the updated labels in the marketplace.

Consumers need these new labels to reduce their risk of diet-related disease, and, in particular, to know how much added sugars are in the foods they buy.  We call on companies to escalate the pace at which they’re deploying the updated labels, and on the FDA to keep the delays to a minimum.  The public deserves nothing less.   

Contact Info: 

Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).