As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and food manufacturers may have food not labeled for retail sale that they may wish to sell. Restaurants, for example, may have purchased ingredients that they can no longer use due to the various shelter-in-place orders in effect. To facilitate the distribution of food, FDA has released a guidance document, Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which sums up the loosening of restrictions that were immediately implemented by FDA.
FDA doesn’t intend to object to restaurants selling packaged food to consumers directly, or to other businesses for sale to consumers, even if it lacks a Nutrition Facts label, provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims and contains other required information on the label. That information includes a statement of identity, an ingredient statement, the name and place of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor, the net quantity of contents, and allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act.
For food manufacturers that have inventory on hand labeled for use in restaurants, FDA doesn’t intend to object to the sale of packaged food that lacks a Nutrition Facts label provided that it meets the same requirements held by restaurants.
If retail packaging for certain foods is unavailable, FDA also does not intend to object to the continued production of food labeled for restaurants for the purposes of retail sale, until retail packaging is available.
The guidance remains subject to comment according to the agency’s good guidance practices. Additionally, no enforcement actions will be taken during the pandemic in regard to manufacturers using the updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels. Instead, FDA will work cooperatively with manufacturers on this for the remainder of the year.