WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is temporarily relaxing some nutrition labeling rules to facilitate the distribution of some food products during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The temporary rules apply to restaurant operators wanting to sell packaged food to consumers, food manufacturers with inventory intended for foodservice, and for manufacturers when retail packaging for certain foods is unavailable.
For restaurants that want to sell packaged food to consumers directly or to other business for sale and for food manufacturers with inventory labeled for use in restaurants, the FDA said it won’t object if the packaged food lacks a Nutrition Facts Label, provided no nutrition claims are made. Information that will be required where applicable includes a statement of identity, an ingredient statement, the name and location of the business of the food manufacturer, packer or distributor, net quantity of contents, and allergen information.
If retail packaging for certain food products is unavailable, the FDA said it won’t object to the further production of food labeled for use in restaurants but is intended to be sold other than to restaurants until the retail packaging is available.
The agency said it also intends to work with manufacturers for the remainder of the year in the use of the updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels and will not focus on enforcement. The FDA previously said it would do so for the first six months of the year following the Jan. 1, 2020, compliance date.
The updated guidance was published March 26, titled “Guidance for industry: Temporary policy regarding nutrition labeling of certain packaged food during the COVID-19 public health emergency” and may be found here.