The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released several reports and guidance documents on food-related issues, including draft guidance on reasonable serving sizes and a report on foodborne illnesses in restaurants.

Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion, Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed, Serving Size-Related Issues, Dual-Column Labeling, and Miscellaneous Topics. This draft guidance details how food companies determine reasonable serving sizes for the nutritional panels on their products. Comments submitted before January 4, 2019, will be considered before FDA begins working on the final version of the guidance.

Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Questions and Answers Related to the Compliance Date, Added Sugars, and Declaration of Quantitative Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals; Guidance for Industry. FDA has provided a series of questions and answers on quantifying added sugars, vitamins and minerals. Several questions focus specifically on calculating added sugars in fruit juices and products created from juice concentrates.

Questions and Answers Regarding Mandatory Food Recalls: Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff. This guidance “provides answers to common questions that might arise about these mandatory recall provisions and FDA’s current thinking regarding their implementation.” The seven-page guidance briefly answers basic questions about the recall process.

FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Fast Food and Full-Service Restaurants, 2013-2014. This report represents the first portion of a 2013-2023 study that is “investigating the relationship between food safety management systems, certified food protection managers, and the occurrence of risk factors and food safety behaviors/practices commonly associated with foodborne illness in restaurants.” The researchers purportedly found that many restaurants had incidents in which employees failed to practice proper food-safety techniques, including (i) failure to practice proper handwashing (65.64 percent of fast food restaurants and 82.4 percent of full-service restaurants); (ii) failure to properly sanitize food-contact surfaces (40.94 percent and 62.12 percent); (iii) failure to cook raw animal foods to required temperatures (10.65 percent and 21.05 percent); and (iv) failure to keep foods requiring refrigeration at the proper temperature (68.24 percent and 86.11 percent).

Meetings scheduled about Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption. FDA has scheduled four public meetings to hear comments about guidance issued in October 2018. The meetings will occur on November 27, 2018; November 29, 2018; December 11, 2018; and December 13, 2018.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.