FDA eases nutrition labeling rules for restaurants clearing inventory

To facilitate the distribution of food during the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants and food manufacturers will be temporarily allowed to sell packages of food that lack the Nutrition Facts label normally required for retail sale, said the FDA on Thursday. The food could be sold directly to consumers or to other businesses for sale to the public.

In a statement, the FDA said it “does not intend to object if the packaged food lacks a Nutrition Facts label, provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims and contains other required information on the label.” Many states have told restaurants to close their dining rooms and to offer only carryout sales. As a result, some businesses and food manufacturers are stuck with packaged food that does not carry the labels required for sale to consumers.

The FDA also said it will work with food manufacturers for the rest of the year on use of the recently updated Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels and will not focus on enforcement. The labels took effect on Jan. 1, but the FDA previously said it would allow a six-month grace period for compliance.

The FDA “guidance” on nutrition labeling is available here.