On June 30, 2021, the House Committee on Appropriations (the “Committee”) released a report accompanying a bill providing appropriations for the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and the United States. related agencies for fiscal year 2022.
The report includes the committee’s review and direction of the work of the FDA. While most of these guidelines focused on drug-related regulation, the committee proposed specific guidelines on food and beverage regulation that could guide the future work of the FDA. Topics of interest in the report related to food and beverage industry are included below. The committee’s guidance and direction to the FDA on these matters will likely have an impact on the agency’s direction and will be reflected in future regulations and regulations the following year.
FDA General Food and Beverage Regulatory and Labeling Guidelines
- “Food additives – The Commissioner is expected to provide a report within one year of enactment on options to systematically reassess the safety of food additives and substances generally recognized as safe, including how to 1) prioritize for review; 2) obtain usage information; and 3) update its safety assessment methods to more effectively use modern scientific tools to assess toxicity and exposure to substances added to foods. The report should include resource requirements, including staff dedicated exclusively to reassessment.
- “Labeling of herbal products – The Committee is aware of the ongoing debate around the labels of plant-based products and the use of traditional terminology for meat, dairy products and eggs. However, the Committee is concerned about claims that the labeling of these products is misleading, misleading and confusing to consumers. The committee calls on the FDA to clarify the labeling of plant-based foods that use the traditional terminology of meat, dairy, and eggs.
- “Food supplements – The Committee is concerned about the lack of strong regulation of dietary supplements, some of which cause approximately 23,000 emergency room visits per year, including fatal illnesses and deaths, and encourages the FDA to issue regulations requiring registration and registration. ‘mandatory product registration to create transparency in the supply chain.
- “Labeling before packaging – The Committee is concerned about the high rates of food-related illness and encourages the FDA to consider issuing regulations requiring mandatory front-of-package labeling of food products, allowing consumers to quickly assess the food safety.
- “Business Identity Standards for Foods – The Committee is concerned about the lack of transparency and progress in modernizing FDA identity regulatory standards. To carry out the committee’s previous instructions, no later than 30 days after the date of passage of this Act, and each year thereafter, the FDA shall submit to the committees, and make publicly available online, a report describing its progress in modernizing its identity standards. regulations, including the demonstration of increased transparency and improved progress.
- “Traceback – The Committee recognizes that the ability to trace contaminated products is essential to contain food safety outbreaks, but that the challenges associated with tracing these products from the end consumer to the supply chain persist. The committee calls on the FDA to emphasize in its final regulations the importance of capturing details such as the lot number and product identifier at the point of sale, rather than prescribing the mechanism by which the information is shared throughout. of the supply chain. The committee is also asking the FDA to ensure that these details are kept from the point of origin, creation and / or processing to the food or food service retail establishment. To avoid duplication, the Committee urges the FDA to clearly define traceability requirements that, to the extent possible, align with existing consensus standards for traceability used by industry and allow the retention of records as electronic and paper.
- “Food traceability – The committee grants an increase of $ 9,500,000 to facilitate traceability and improve the response to epidemics in order to prevent other diseases. The Committee is encouraged by the work being done by the FDA in developing a blueprint to define strategies to develop a large-scale traceability system that helps companies and government agencies to more quickly trace the foods involved in outbreaks and likely to be recalled as part of their new era of smarter foods. Security initiative.
- “PFAS in food – The FDA should continue its work to investigate PFAS in our national diet and in food packaging that comes into contact with food.
- “Net weights – The Committee encourages the FDA to continue to devote appropriate efforts to address suspected economic integrity issues, in particular with respect to net weights and the handling of seafood. The Committee considers that products labeled “at low weighting ”violate FDA laws and that, despite industry reporting such examples, the FDA has not prioritized enforcement. The Committee requests an update from the FDA on its efforts to enforce the net weight requirements for seafood. ”
Guidelines for specific categories of food and drink
- “Standard of Identity for Dairy Products – The Committee is pleased that the FDA has initiated a deliberative process to consider how it will apply the standards of identity for dairy products as described in 21 Code of Federal Regulations, parts 131, 133 and 135. The Committee continues to hear concerns about the labeling of certain foods and beverages as dairy products when the products are plant-based rather than animal-based. As such, the committee urges the FDA to continue its work towards the final application of the identity standards for dairy products. “
- “Gluten – The Committee is aware that celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease, affecting nearly 3 million Americans, in which ingestion of gluten damages the villi of the small intestine. The only treatment is the total elimination of products containing gluten. In 2017, the FDA released a draft guideline encouraging drug manufacturers to disclose the presence of gluten. Although some manufacturers have taken this step, it has not been implemented consistently. This can lead consumers to face continued uncertainty as to whether their drug will do more harm than good. The Committee continues to encourage the FDA to consider the comments received from stakeholders, including consumers, and to work expeditiously to issue a final guidance document.
- “Labeling of seafood – The Committee notes that certain foods are labeled as fish or seafood products when the products are highly processed plant-based foods rather than derived from real fish or seafood. The committee orders the FDA to continue to assess products on the market to determine whether measures are necessary to ensure that consumers are not misled regarding the labeling of these products.
- “Sesame – The committee is concerned that the FDA’s recent draft guidance to industry on the voluntary disclosure of sesame is not sufficient to protect Americans with allergies to sesame and calls on the FDA to consider other measures to require sesame to be labeled the same as other major allergens.
- “Canned tuna – The Committee remains concerned that the FDA has not revised the Identity Standard for Canned Tuna to adopt the Drained Weight Container Fill Standard despite receiving two petitions from citizens, as early as 1994 The FDA is responsible for promulgating a draft regulation revising the standard of identity for canned tuna in line with the drained weight standard adopted for canned tuna by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists tuna in preserves, the FDA must, to the extent consistent with applicable regulations, continue to timely approve temporary marketing authorizations that adopt the drained weight method in accordance with international standards and to approve timely updates to the international standards. ‘labeling of products under existing temporary marketing authorizations.
- “Quality and safety of botanical food supplements – The Commission encourages the continuation of work between the National Center for Natural Products Research and the FDA to conduct research on the biological and chemical properties of plants used in food supplements, in order to guarantee the quality and safety of these products. This collaborative effort helps develop the scientific basis for ensuring the authenticity, quality and safety of plants sold as dietary supplements in the United States.
- “Olive oil identity standards – The Committee recognizes that the United States remains a major producer of olive oils and one of the largest olive oil markets in the world. As a result, the committee believes that establishing a uniform set of standards would better protect and educate consumers, and direct the FDA to continue exploring a standard of identity for different grades of olive oil, such as requires H. Rpt. 116-446 and provide an updated report to committees no later than December 31, 2021.