The following is a summary of the trends in the food labeling standards of the United States, Australia, and Canada.
On May 16, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft Compliance Policy Guide regarding major food allergen labeling and cross-contact.
The draft specifies FDA’s enforcement policy for managing cross-contact with the ingredients of other products with different allergens manufactured in the same production area or on the same production line/equipment.
We believe that the draft highlights the U.S. policy to prevent potential cross-contact, rather than the so-called precautionary allergen labeling (PAL), which is a voluntary “may contain” labeling that indicates the possibility of cross-contact. For more detailed background on why the FDA has taken this policy, please visit the FDA website here.
The new allergen labeling standard was revised on February 25, 2021, and is currently in a transition period that will end on February 25, 2024.
The Food Standards Code requires allergens to be labeled using certain required names.
Please refer to the FSANZ website for details. Under the new standards, tree nuts, molluscs, and cereals, which were previously indicated using such category names, must now all be listed separately using the individual name of each allergen.
The following are the labeling standards set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in their transition periods (as of June 2023).
– Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations related to nutrition labeling, list of ingredients and food colours, which came into force on December 14, 2016→Transition deadline: December 14, 2023 (Some action will be taken on regulated parties that do not comply with the new labeling requirements. See below for details.)
– The standards on Nutrition Facts labeling enforced from July to November 2022→Transition deadline: December 31, 2025 (the compliance date beginning January 2026).
– Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations related to nutrition labeling, list of ingredients and food colours, which went into force on December 14, 2016:
The change is related to the grouping of sugar-based ingredients under the name “sugars” and food colours, and so on. For more information, please see our past article.
– The standards on Nutrition Facts labeling enforced from July to November 2022:
Amendments have been made to the nutrition labeling in the FOP (See here for details), as well as to the nutrition claims/their standards, and the mandatory labeling for sweeteners. (See here for details). And also potassium and sodium values for certain age groups in Table of daily values for nutrition labeling have been amended. (See here for details.)
The deadline for the labeling standards was originally set for December 14, 2022. However, given the challenges imposed by COVID-19, CFIA has extended its deadline to December 14, 2023. Between December 15, 2022, and December 14, 2023, CFIA will verify compliance and take some action unless non-compliant companies have detailed plans showing how they intend to meet the new requirements at the earliest possible time.
These are the recent updates in the three countries, and we hope you will take a look at the details of each of them. Noteworthy, the above-mentioned allergen labeling standards in Australia also include information on precautionary allergen labeling (PAL), but the labeling of cross-contact is not regulated by the Food Standards Code. However, we should closely watch the possibility of revising the standards in Australia as well to include management guidelines that prevent cross-contact rather than labeling.
Research Services on Ingredients & Food Labeling -For the Japanese Market-
We verify the conformity of ingredients and additives with the standards for use in Japan based on specifications such as formulation lists. We also verify the conformity of the proposed labeling of ingredient names, nutrients, etc. with the labeling standards based on specifications such as formulation lists.
Label bank Co., Ltd. Regulatory inspections and Consulting Research staff
Born in Japan. With many years of experience in the additives (formulation) business, his work focuses on additives verification, as well as ensuring the consistency between the technical information in English and Japanese. He also acts as a seminar lecturer on topics related to the standards of use of ingredients.