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Life Sciences 04.30.19 BLOG 

Change at Last? The FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy

By TransPerfect Life Sciences

doctor holds a plate of vegetables

Change at Last? The FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy

Amidst Scott Gottlieb’s departure from his role as the head of the FDA last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing forward with the Nutrition Innovation Strategy.

The Nutrition Innovation Strategy is the FDA’s response to over two decades of stagnant guidance for the food industry and consumers on product labeling. The strategy features initiatives based on new scientific research to combat diseases and disorders triggered by poor nutrition. As consumers continue the push for transparency and “better-for-you” foods, the FDA is utilizing the strategy to structure industrywide standards.

Consumers are searching for easy-to-read ingredient lists and understandable health claims. The FDA last defined the term healthy in 1994, and it’s not the only claim consumers are pushing to redefine—according to the FDA, the industry should gear up for new definitions of dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables based on the latest research and increasingly innovative food development processes as a result of new technologies (e.g., genetically modified organisms). Within the next year, the FDA is also setting out to redefine the 278 current standards of identity. The bottom line is: change is coming

For years, the United States has been considered to have a more relaxed regulatory labeling environment for the food and beverage industry. In 2016, we saw the first act passed from the strategy—an updated Nutrition Facts table. The new table (pictured below), along with education efforts, aims to provide consumers with transparency into the content of what they are putting in their bodies.

The new nutrition facts label

The cost to the industry is by no means a small number—we’re talking in the billions—but according to FDA-published research, the benefit to consumers far outweighs any cost. The vast majority of manufacturers are facing required implementation by 2020, with some smaller entities granted extensions until 2021.

For information on how we can support regulatory review and implementation workflows for product labeling, reach out to packaging@transperfect.com.


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