US – The International Dairy Foods Association (IDA) has recommended areas for regulatory reform for dairy product manufacturing, claiming the current regulations are overly burdensome, out-dated and barriers to innovation.

According to the association, it is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to modernize out-dated standards of identity for dairy products revise overly burdensome regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and extend the compliance date for the revised Nutrition Facts label.

The IDFA made the comments in response to the agency’s request to identify regulations that foods manufacturers believe should be repealed, replaced or modified.

“IDFA appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to FDA regarding the regulatory burden that dairy foods manufacturers face and suggest revisions to those regulations,” said Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president for regulatory affairs.

“IDFA supports the Trump administration’s goals to significantly reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining the product safety and integrity that consumers expect.”

IDFA is also asking FDA to extend the compliance dates for the nutrition facts label and serving size final rule to July 1, 2020, for manufacturers with US$10 million or more in annual food sales and until July 1, 2021, for manufacturers with less than US$10 million in annual food sales.

This additional time will allow dairy companies to properly manage label changes and significantly reduces costs to food companies and consumers.

“While IDFA greatly appreciated and supported FDA’s initial extension of the Nutrition Facts labeling compliance date, IDFA believes that additional time is needed to align the labeling compliance date as closely as possible with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) bioengineered food disclosure standard,” said Frye.

In its comments, IDFA said that there are currently 300 identity standards for foods across 20 broad categories that establish defining characteristics and describe processing parameters, permitted ingredients and compositional requirements.

However, IDFA pointed out, many of these standards are out-dated and do not reflect current processing technology nor do they provide the much-needed flexibility for future technological advancement.

“Reviewing and revising the existing standards of identity would provide more flexibility, allow for new ingredient uses and reflect current and future technological advances,” said Frye.

“Each of the proposed changes will provide dairy processors with greater flexibility, the ability to create more innovative products and continue to meet consumer expectations.”