The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda on January 7, 2014, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 and Executive Order 12866.  The FDA is the HHS agency charged with promulgating regulations related to food safety, including the provision of accurate, science-based information to the public.  The food-related regulations as numbered on the Agenda are listed and briefly described below under three categories: (1) proposed rule stage, 2) final rule stage and 3) completed actions.  HHS and the FDA welcome comments on any of its Agenda items, which you can read more about here.

Food-Related Priorities on the Semiannual Regulatory Agenda:
PROPOSED RULE STAGE

  • 276. Food Labeling; Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels

FDA is proposing to modernize the Nutrition Facts label, including updated nutrition information and the format and appearance of the label for easier consumer use.

  • 277. Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One-Eating Occasion; Dual Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain RACCS

FDA is proposing to provide consumers with nutrition information for certain food categories based on the amount of food that is customarily consumed, referred to as Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACCs). In addition to updating certain RACCs, FDA is also considering the provision of dual-column labeling to indicate nutrition information per serving and per container for certain containers.

  • 280. Updated Standards for Labeling of Pet Food

FDA is proposing to provide pet owner and animal health professionals more complete information about the nutrient content and ingredient composition of pet food products.

  • 281. Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals

FDA is proposing to provide preventive controls for animal food, including the ingredients and mixed animal feed, to ensure safety for all animals.

  • 284. Produce Safety Regulation

FDA is proposing to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of raw agricultural commodities to reduce the risk of illness associated with fresh produce.  The Secretary has determined the types of fruits and vegetables for which such standards minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death.

  • 285. Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls

FDA is proposing to implement preventive controls at food facilities to avoid or, at a minimum, quickly identify foodborne pathogens before they get into the food supply.

  • 288. Foreign Supplier Verification Program

FDA is proposing regulations to improve the safety of food imported into the United States by imposing requirements on foreign suppliers to verify that the imported food is produced according to US standards.

FINAL RULE STAGE

  • 298. Food Labeling: Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food Sold in Vending Machines

FDA is issuing a final rule to 1) establish requirements for nutrition labeling of certain food items sold in certain vending machines, and 2) establish terms and conditions for vending machine operators registering to voluntarily be subject to the requirements. FDA is taking this action to carry out section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

  • 299. Food Labeling: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments

FDA is issuing a final rule to 1) establish requirements for nutrition labeling of standard menu items in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments, and 2) establish terms and conditions for restaurants and similar retail food establishments registering to voluntarily be subject to the Federal requirements. FDA is taking this action to carry out section 4205 of the ACA.

  • 300. Use of Certain Symbols in Labeling

FDA is issuing a final rule to allow for the inclusion of certain stand-alone symbols in medical devices, provided that such symbols are explained in a symbols glossary that contemporaneously accompanies the medical device.

COMPLETED ACTIONS

  • 307.  Food Labeling: Serving Sizes; Reference Amount and Serving Size Declaration for Hard Candies and Breath Mints

FDA is proposing to change the nutrition label serving size for breath mints to one unit. This is a response to a citizen petition that requested a serving size for breath mints that more accurately reflects the amount customarily consumed per eating occasion and the comments received on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in 2005.

  • 308. Food Labeling; Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods

FDA is amending its regulations to define the term “gluten-free” for voluntary use in food labeling, to provide easier identification of foods appropriate for a “gluten-free” diet.

Read more on the Federal Register site.

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