Key considerations for food companies considering a package refresh or new product launch – an integrated legal team approach

Launching a new food product? Revising your label? On September 13, the Hogan Lovells Food and Beverage team will offer a free webinar on key considerations for food and beverage packaging and labeling.  Food regulatory partners Maile Hermida and Elizabeth Fawell will be joined by trademark partner Julia Matheson to discuss what you need to know if you are refreshing your product’s packaging and labels – either on your own initiative or to comply with new labeling requirements – or launching a new product.

Maile and Elizabeth will discuss key labeling considerations facing food companies, including new nutrition labeling requirements, GMO disclosures, and class action litigation.  Julia will provide an overview on trademark, trade dress, and unfair competition claims.

Topics for this one hour webinar include:
•           Labeling hot issues
•           False advertising claims
•           Trademark
•           Trade dress
•           Unfair competition

Click here to register.

On July 26, 2018, the FDA held a public meeting to discuss issues related to the agency’s comprehensive multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy. This public meeting and comment period follows FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s unveiling of the Nutrition Innovation Strategy in a policy address on March 29, 2018 as a way to help Americans improve their nutrition as a step towards reducing chronic disease. This post provides a high-level summary of the issues that were raised at the public meeting.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to revise the type size requirements for front-of-pack (FOP) calorie declarations that are used to comply with the vending machine calorie labeling requirements. The proposed rule would require such calorie declarations to be at least 150% the size of the net quantity of contents statement (i.e., 1.5 x the size of the net weight). This proposed change was prompted by industry concerns that the current type size requirement for FOP calorie declarations – of at least 50% of the size of the largest printed matter on the label – is impractical, needlessly burdensome, and would disrupt existing voluntary industry front-of-pack nutrition labeling programs. The existing programs require FOP calorie declarations to appear in a type size ranging from 100 to 150% of the size of the net quantity of contents statement.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a public meeting and comment period on the agency’s comprehensive multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy. This public meeting and comment period follows FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s unveiling of the Nutrition Innovation Strategy in a policy address on March 29, 2018 as a way to help Americans improve their nutrition as a step towards reducing chronic disease. This post details the proposed topics to be discussed at the meeting, as well as the logistics for the meeting and comment period.

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On September 8, 2017, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. (Ocean Spray) originally submitted a health claim petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of a health claim tying together the consumption of cranberry products and the reduced risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in healthy women. More recently, on February 20, 2018, the FDA sent a letter to Ocean Spray stating that it is proceeding to review the petition as one for a qualified health claim. All of this information has now been posted in the agency docket. Comments on this qualified health claim petition will be accepted until May 7, 2018, and the FDA expects to issue a final decision on the claim by October 5, 2018.

This post summarizes Ocean Spray’s petition, the studies cited in support of Ocean Spray’s claim, the discussion concerning cranberry as an eligible “substance,” and the FDA’s response.

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On March 29, 2018, Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the agency) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., delivered a nutrition-related policy address. The Commissioner emphasized FDA’s role in helping Americans improve their nutrition as a step towards reducing chronic disease, with a particular focus on sodium reduction. The Commissioner’s address provides important insight into the shape that FDA nutrition and health policy can be expected to take in the next few years.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today on its website that it intends to extend the compliance date for the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) final rules.  The agency action provides much needed clarity and assurance to the industry that an extension will be granted.

The current compliance dates are July 26, 2018 for large businesses and July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales.  The agency intends to extend the compliance date via a forthcoming Federal Register notice.  In a March 2017 letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Dr. Tom Price, a number of trade associations requested that FDA extend the compliance date until May 2021, or 5 years after the date the final rules were published.  It is unclear whether FDA will provide the requested 5-year compliance period.

The intended extension comes in response to the difficulties many companies were experiencing with getting compliant labels on food products given the absence of clear guidance from FDA on added sugars, dietary fiber, and other elements of the new requirements and the limited capacity of the packaging suppliers to print new labels for the entire food industry in the limited period of time granted by the original final regulation.  We will provide additional details on the compliance date extension once available.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking the food industry to voluntarily reduce the sodium content of foods by about one-third over a ten year period, with the goal of reducing sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. FDA’s draft guidance sets short-term (two year) and long-term (ten year) sodium reduction targets for about 150 subcategories of both packaged and restaurant foods. The target dates would be two and ten years, respectively, from the date a final guidance document is issued.

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