General Mills, in multiple comments submitted to the FDA in 2014 and 2015 before the final labeling rule, voiced strong opposition to the requirement that companies call out how many grams of added sugars are included in each product's total sugar.
It's the Trump administration's latest delay of the Obama administration's rules meant to improve food labeling and make foods healthier and safer. But grocery and convenience stores said their offerings are more complicated and asked for adjustments to the rule.
The Nutrition Facts panel printed on food products lists information like the number of calories, serving size and the amount of fat, cholesterol, fiber and sugar. "Dairy foods companies are committed to giving consumers the information they need to make informed choices, and appreciate the extra time to be sure that the information on the labels is complete and accurate", said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs. After hearing feedback from industry and others, the FDA said it would delay the compliance date.
"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 agency said in an update on its website.
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The agency did not say how much additional time companies would be given, or when it would announce the time frame, saying only it would make an announcement "at a later time".
Industry groups wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in March asking that the deadline be extended to May 2021, according to a letter made public by the nonprofit health watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest. And the Agriculture Department has delayed animal welfare standards for organic foods and sodium standards for federally subsidized school lunches. "Just like with the menu-labeling delay, this administration is denying consumers critical information they need to make decisions, and it's throwing the food industry into disarray". "The fact that we'll have the added sugar declaration and the percent daily value, but our competitors won't?"
But some companies may already be on track to meet the previous deadline.
"We look forward to hearing from the FDA regarding the new compliance date and will adjust our plans accordingly", Bridget Christenson, a General Mills spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.