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Important News and Developments

Last Call – Mandatory Allergen and Trans Fat Labeling Date Nears

Del Mar, CA (June 29, 2005) -- In less than 6 months, on January 1, 2006, nearly all FDA-regulated food products labeled for sale in the U.S. must comply with new FDA requirements for trans fat and food allergen labeling. FDA published the final rule for trans fat labeling July 9, 2003; the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 was signed into public law on August 2, 2004. January 1, 2006, is the deadline for both compliance issues.

Despite the lengthy time period between publications of requirements and the compliance date, many labelers have not yet initiated steps to revise labels. “Small cottage companies tend to fall into this category,” explained Karen Duester, president of Food Consulting Company. “Such companies often don’t dedicate personnel to following changes in food labeling regulations and are just now learning about the upcoming deadline for trans fat and allergen requirements because of alerts from Food Consulting Company and late breaking industry press coverage.”

Duester is encouraging trade publications to include alerts and to direct readers to www.foodlabels.com/2006 for a summary of what is required. The summary includes links to government websites that provide complete details for what is required and a link for companies to request expert food label help from Food Consulting Company.

The January 1, 2006 requirements affect nearly all FDA regulated food labels. Not since 1993, when compliance for the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 became mandatory, have so many labels required revision.

In her communications with food companies, Duester has also found food labelers fearing that once labels are updated, they will need to make further but not yet specified changes. However, the fact is, labels that meet the January 1, 2006, requirements will require no additional changes until at least January 1, 2008, which is the next uniform compliance date. FDA sets uniform dates to lessen the economic impact that labelers would experience if changes were mandatory upon publication of new regulations.

Concerned parties can keep up-to-date on food labeling regulation changes by subscribing to Food Label News, a free monthly email newsletter, at www.foodlabels.com.

Food Consulting Company, based in Del Mar, CA, and the largest out-source provider assisting food companies in meeting FDA and USDA labeling requirements, offers a full range of food labeling services. The company can be reached at www.foodlabels.com, or by calling 800-793-2844.