It’s hard to believe that we’re a week into 2015 already. Before we leave 2014 behind us, let’s look back at what has happened in the world of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food and beverage regulations in the past year.
- January: FDA finalized its guidance for distinguishing liquid dietary supplements from beverages, which are conventional foods. The guidance goes into detail regarding the labeling, advertising, packaging, and even the naming of each type of product.
- February 4: FDA published a draft approach to identifying high-risk foods. Under FSMA, FDA is required to define high-risk foods and establish record-keeping requirements for facilities manufacturing them. FSMA also requires more frequent inspections of high-risk food facilities.
- February 27: FDA released pre-published versions of two proposed rules that will mandate major changes to food labels if finalized. Among other things, the rules would amend the definition of a serving size, require labels to include “added sugars” in food products, and change the formatting of labels.
- July 21: FDA, along with Mexico’s SENASICA and COFEPRIS, signed a statement of intent to implement a variety of food-safety initiatives aimed at promoting the safety of fresh agricultural products. The partnership should prove beneficial with over 50% of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable imports come from Mexico.
- August 5: FDA’s definition for the term “gluten-free” came into effect. Before 2014, there was no definition or standard for using the term.
- September 19: FDA proposed revisions to four of its major proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Changes were made to the following rules: produce safety, preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food, and the foreign supplier verification program.
- October 1: FSMA mandated that food facilities renew their FDA registrations between October 1 and December 31 of each even numbered year. 2014 marked the second ever food facility renewal period.
- October 2: FDA released a new inspection data dashboard that allows users to explore reports and trends in FDA inspections from FDA’s various sectors.
- December 1: FDA published two final rules requiring chain restaurants and vending machines to list calorie information on their menus. Chain restaurants are also required to have other nutritional information available upon consumer request.
- December 22: FDA issued a guidance for labeling beers regulated by the agency. While many beers are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), beers that are made without hops or malted barley are subject to FDA’s regulations instead.
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