FDA to extend compliance date for vending machine calorie disclosures
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is extending the compliance date for final calorie declaration requirements for certain food products sold from glass-front vending machines to July 26, 2018. FDA intends to formally announce the extension in the Federal Register in the near future.
Several trade associations requested the extension for glass-front vending machines because of concerns regarding the requirements for the size of front-of-pack (FOP) calorie disclosures. In a letter to FDA, the trade associations stated that the type size requirement for FOP labeling presents significant technical challenges and asked that the requirement be changed to 150 percent of the size of the net quantity of contents, which is the statement on the label that provides the amount of food in the container or package. They noted that current voluntary FOP labeling programs require calorie information to be presented in a type size that ranges from 100 to 150 percent of the size of the net weight contents statement on the FOP label. FDA’s final rule currently requires a type size of 50 percent of the size of the largest printed matter on the label. FDA recognizes industry’s concern about technical challenges and will issue a proposed rule for comment.
The trade associations also noted that it would be helpful to have a compliance date that better aligns with the July 26, 2018 compliance date for the recently published Nutrition Facts label final rule. The trade associations noted that the extension would allow food companies to make all changes to their food labels, including FOP calorie information, at one time. According to the final rule on calorie labeling for vending machines, visible FOP labeling can be used to meet the calorie labeling requirements on vending machines. FDA is extending the compliance date for foods sold from glass-front vending machines that have visible FOP labeling to July 26, 2018.
The December 1, 2016 compliance date still applies in most circumstances. For example, if packaged food sold in glass-front vending machines does not have visible FOP labeling, the calorie disclosures will have to appear in, on or adjacent to the vending machine consistent with the requirements in the final rule. In addition, the compliance date of December 1, 2016 still applies to vending machines that use electronic displays or sell unpackaged products.
FDA also is extending to July 26, 2018, the compliance date for certain gums, mints and roll candy sold in vending machines in response to industry requests to provide flexibility for labeling these products.
The final rule, which appeared in the December 1, 2014 Federal Register, applies to certain food from vending machines operated by a person engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending machines.