Digest

Bryan Cave Digest

Labeling

Main Content

New Federal Law Will Require Disclosure of GMO Content in Food

A new federal law will require food makers to disclose when foods contain genetically modified ingredients.

The law, which was recently signed by President Obama, will require such food products to be labeled with text, a symbol, or an electronic code readable by smartphone indicating the presence of GMOs. Small businesses will also have the option to label food products with a telephone number or Internet website directing customers to additional information.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has two years to draft regulations concerning which products require such disclosure, and additional details concerning what food makers must do to comply. After the regulations are finalized, food makers will have at least another year before the law takes effect.

Law preempts state and local GMO labeling laws.

The federal law preempts a similar Vermont law, Act 120, that took effect in July, as well as any other state or local

FTC Takes Action Against Personal Care Product Companies for Making False All-Natural Claims

“Natural” claims aren’t just for the food industry – the Federal Trade Commission recently approved four final consent orders against companies that allegedly misrepresented their personal care products as “All-Natural” or “100% Natural,” despite the fact that they contain man-made ingredients. For more information, see the alert posted here.

The FDA Dishes Out Food Label Changes

The current food label will soon be no more. After two decades, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just finalized the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. Making it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices, the FDA announced that the changes are based a combination of public input, updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research, and more recent dietary recommendations from expert groups.

For more information on the label changes from the Bryan Cave Food and Beverage Industry Team, see this client alert.

FDA Extends Comment Period for “Natural” Input

As many of you know, FDA has opened a docket to accept comments on whether and how it should define the term “natural” for food labeling purposes.  Today, FDA announced that it will be extending the comment period until May 10, 2016.   As outlined by FDA:

Although the FDA has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term “natural,” we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of “natural” in human food labeling. The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. However, this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods,

California Recognizes State Claim for Foods Mislabeled as “Organic”

On December 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a claim for intentionally mislabeling produce as “organic” is not preempted by the federal regulatory regime for certifying organic growers. This decision may tend to increase exposure to companies endorsing products as “organic” under California state law false advertising, unfair competition, and other consumer protection claims based on alleged misuse of the term “organic.”

Click here to read the Alert.

FDA Extends Menu Labeling Rule Compliance Date Until December 1, 2016

This morning, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor announced that FDA is extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rules one year, making the new compliance date December 1, 2016.  Since finalizing the menu labeling rules in December of 2014, FDA states that it “has had extensive dialogue with chain restaurants, covered grocery stores and other covered businesses, and answered numerous questions on how the rule can be implemented in specific situations.”  Certainly, businesses impacted by the rule have been grappling with the substance and logistics of implementing the menu labeling rules, including working with suppliers to obtain additional information about products.  This alone can be a tricky proposition for items like alcohol and craft beers, where nutritional information required by the menu labeling rules is not always readily available.  The extension will allow all parties impacted by the menu labeling rules – a group

The attorneys of Bryan Cave LLP make this site available to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This site does not offer specific legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Bryan Cave LLP or any of its attorneys. Do not use this site as a substitute for specific legal advice from a licensed attorney. Much of the information on this site is based upon preliminary discussions in the absence of definitive advice or policy statements and therefore may change as soon as more definitive advice is available. Please review our full disclaimer.