Food manufacturers, food service distributors, and restaurants may now find themselves with the option to supply food retailers.
On March 25, 2020, the FDA issued a Guidance for Industry document for a temporary, and relaxed, policy on Nutrition labeling. When combined with the temporary allowances extended on March 23, 2020 by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, greater opportunities now exist for the supply chain entities with higher supply (foodservice distributors, food manufacturers, restaurants) to channel with those that have higher demand (food retailers, individuals).
What you need to know about the FDA guidance:
Packaged foods do not currently require a Nutrition Facts label provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims.
Packaged foods must still display other required information on the label, including the following, as applicable:
- a statement of identity
- an ingredient statement,
- the name and place of the business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor,
- net quantity of contents, and
- allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
Manufacturers may continue to produce product labeled for foodservice with the intent of selling to non-food service buyers, if retail packaging is not available
Although the verbiage of the FDA document is strongly geared towards manufacturers and restaurants, GDS21 has confirmed with the FDA that this guidance does also apply to foodservice distributors and is meant to facilitate the general re-direction of food products for retail sale.
You can download a copy of the document here: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency – Guidance for Industry
What you need to know about the FSIS allowances:
Bulk product, even if labeled for HRI, may now be distributed to retailers.
Retailers may repackage the product into smaller packages.
Labels are required as usual with the exception of the USDA mark of inspection (which may NOT be added) and nutrition labeling.
This allowance is currently scheduled to be in effect for 60 days from publication, which was March 23, 2020.
You can download a copy of the document here: Temporary Allowances for Labels Going to Retail
Neither of these documents addresses B2C sales through E-Com or other channels. Although some manufacturers and distributors had such channels in place before the Covid-19 pandemic, and others have added these options since, GDS21 is not aware of any adjustments to law or policy regarding these types of B2C sales. If you have further information on this, we would love to hear from you!