FDA Announces Public Meeting to Discuss Modernizing Food Standards of Identity
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it will hold a public meeting on September 27, 2019, to give interested parties an opportunity to discuss FDA’s effort to modernize food standards of identity and to provide information about changes the FDA could make to existing standards of identity. FDA is particularly interested in changes that could be made across categories of standardized foods, often referred to as horizontal changes, to provide flexibility for manufacturers to develop healthier foods and to facilitate innovation. The initiative is part of the agency’s comprehensive, multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy (NIS), which is designed to encourage industry innovation to improve the nutrition and healthfulness of food. As part of the NIS, FDA is seeking to modernize food standards of identity in a manner that will: (1) protect consumers against economic adulteration; (2) maintain the basic nature, essential characteristics and nutritional integrity of food; and (3) promote industry innovation and provide flexibility to encourage manufacturers to produce healthier foods. Because the agency issued many standards of identity decades ago, FDA and many stakeholders are concerned that some standards are out of date and may impede innovation. As consumers continue to seek more nutritious food options, FDA wants to ensure that standards of identity, or requirements outlining the content and production of certain food products, meet these expectations. During a 2018 public meeting on FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy, many participants expressed general support for FDA exploring modernization options that could permit changes across all standards of identity, or broad categories of standards, to facilitate innovation and flexibility to reformulate products to produce more nutritious foods. FDA is seeking input about horizontal changes that may provide manufacturers with additional flexibility to use, for example, new technologies and new or novel ingredients without impacting the basic nature and essential characteristics of standardized foods.