WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 9 targeted Jan. 1, 2018, as the uniform compliance date for food-labeling regulations that are issued between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2016. An FDA proposed rule to make changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel potentially may become a final rule during that two-year time period, but the rule would not automatically have a Jan. 1, 2018, compliance date.

“If any food-labeling regulation involves special circumstances that justify a compliance date other than Jan. 1, 2018, we will determine for that regulation an appropriate compliance date, which will be specified when the final regulation is published,” the FDA states in a Federal Register notice that has yet to be published.

In the March 3, 2014, issue of the Federal Register, the FDA published its proposed rule to make changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel. A unified regulatory agenda recently came out and targeted March 2016 for the final Nutrition Facts Panel rule, said Lee Sanders, senior vice president, Government Relations & Public Affairs, for the American Bakers Association, Washington.

To minimize the economic impact of label changes, the FDA periodically announces uniform compliance dates for new food labeling requirements. For example, on Nov. 28, 2012, the FDA established Jan. 1, 2016, as the uniform compliance date for food labeling regulations issued between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2014.