FDA Updates Nutrition Facts Panel

On May 20, 2016 the Food and Drug Administration announced the changes to the nutrition-facts panel, citing a need to update the 20-year-old existing label due to consumers demanding more accurate and helpful information about the foods they eat.

On the surface, it seems like a small change, but for those involved, there is far more to it than simply a modified look.

What the Changes Mean for Consumers

For consumers, the label will still be recognizable and easy to read. Much like a company will refresh their logo without significantly changing their logo, the FDA has refreshed the nutrition-facts panel without losing the essence of the classic clean, black-and-white look.

The updated design will make it easier for customers to get the information they usually seek first, such as calories and serving size, and also updates what, exactly, food manufacturers are required to put on the panel. These mandates are in line with current dietary shortcomings, which have changed on a national scale in the last 20 years.

For example, Vitamins A and C will no longer be mandatory inclusions on the panel. In the early 1990s, when the existing panel was created, many American diets lacked those nutrients. Now that such deficiencies are so rare, manufacturers may include the information if they wish, but are not required to do so. Conversely, Vitamin D, which was not an obligatory inclusion on the old label, is going to be required from now on.

What the Changes Mean for Producers and Manufacturers

Obviously, food producers will need to supply accurate information on the new FDA panels, which will require adherence to the new rules. In addition to the vitamins being added and removed above, manufacturers will now have to include potassium (another nutrient that lacks in American diets based on food-consumption surveys) and, most notably, added sugars.

On existing labels, all sugars are included in one item. On the new labels, added sugars will be specifically broken out and listed. For instance, if a product has 10 grams of sugar on its label now, but eight of those grams are added (see page 897 of the Nutrition Facts Label Final Rule for a definition of “added sugars”), there will now be a line beneath “sugars” to tell consumers eight of the 10 grams are added sugars.

Manufacturers have over two years—until July 26, 2018, to be exact—to comply with the new requirements. For manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales, that deadline is extended by one year.

Freight rates are higher than many companies have ever seen. The combination of a greater truck demand and a tighter supply of trucks and drivers are giving concern to a number of industries not only over the cost of shipping, but the reliability of on-time delivery.

Much of the concern is over the declining interest in actually becoming a truck driver. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average age of current drivers as 55, and it appears young career seekers don’t find the long stretches away from home as appealing as previous generations.

Obviously, trucking companies are working to attract quality drivers and looking into other shipping methods to make sure they continue to thrive, but in the short-term, you need confidence you’ll get your shipments on time.

Bremer’s Efforts to Mitigate the Issues
Of course, we can’t pretend to be totally immune to this issue. The entire industry is affected by it, and that includes us. However, we have and are taking steps to make sure any impact felt by our customers is minimal.

We’ve always employed our own drivers and fleet of trucks to manage distribution. This means, no matter how chaotic the trucking industry gets, if you order something we have on our floor, you’re going to get it on time, as always.

In an attempt to keep an ample supply of ingredients in our warehouse, we’ve expanded our own product sourcing, taking advantage of rail shipping in many cases while still being able to give you the best possible pricing.

The freight shortage is a difficult obstacle for many businesses. We will continue doing everything we can to keep this industry problem from affecting your business.

Bremer Authentic Ingredients (bremeringredients.com), a wholesale food ingredients distributor based in Zeeland, Michigan, announced that they have been awarded Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000 – Level 3 Certification by NSF International on behalf of the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI).

The SQF Program is a globally trusted, recognized, and accepted food safety and quality certification program and management system designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide.

SQF 2000 – Level 3 is the most stringent and highest level certification awarded by SQFI, encompassing HACCP Analysis, Food Defense, Business Continuity Planning, as well as Food Quality and Safety.

“SQF certification demonstrates our commitment to be a leader in wholesale food ingredients distribution, providing the safe, quality food ingredients our customers expect,” said Tim Malefyt, General Manager.  “Everyone here at Bremer worked hard to get this in place and I’m proud their efforts.”
“Consumer demand for increased food safety and quality requires that we prove that control systems have been effectively implemented.  SQF Certification provides that proof,” said Todd Gifford, Sales Manager.

For over 65 years, Bremer (bremeringredients.com) has provided commercial customers with whole food ingredients.  From their warehouse in Zeeland, Michigan, Bremer proudly delivers sugar, flour, salt, and other authentic ingredients to bakeries, meat processors, food manufacturers, and more.

NSF International (nsf.org) has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944. As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, auditing, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, consumer products, chemical and health science industries.