On May 22 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a guidance document providing additional temporary flexibility in food labelling requirements to manufacturers with the aim of minimizing supply chain disruptions on product availability associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We've posted the summary measures at the bottom of this article.
This could mean massive uncertainty for those in the food allergy community and those who rely on 100% contaminant-free and gluten-free food. However, the guidelines very specifically speak to safety concerns saying substitutions are only allowed if "the ingredient being substituted for the labeled ingredient does not cause any adverse health effect (including food allergens, gluten, sulfites, or other foods known to cause sensitivities in some people, for example, glutamates).
At Kinnikinnick we are absolutely 100% committed to only include ingredients in the product that are clearly and accurately marked on the label. Always. No exceptions. No substitutions.
Here's a message from our owner, Jerry Bigam.
"Under no circumstances does Kinnikinnick allow any ingredient changes without reflecting the change in our packaging or labels.
Our company is built on the basis that people with food allergies and dietary restrictions can, without question, know that only those ingredients that appear on our labels are part of a formulation and no deviations are allowed for any reason.
We understand that cross-contamination or undeclared ingredients can have severe effects on any number of people and Kinnikinnick is focused on ensuring that consumers know precisely what ingredients are in any product.
Kinnikinnick also lab tests ingredients used in processing to ensure that no unanticipated cross-contamination can enter our supply chain. Our objective is to provide the safest food possible for people with food allergies and that requires the greatest accuracy in food packaging and labelling.”
President and CEO
Kinnikinnick Foods Ltd.
Read Kinnikinnick's free from safety measures.
Read the FDA's new guidelines in full due to COVID.
Here's the summary excerpt from “Temporary Policy Regarding Certain Food Labeling Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, May 22 2020.
"First, the FDA is providing flexibility for manufacturers to make minor formulation changes in certain circumstances without making conforming label changes, such as making a change to product ingredients, without updating the ingredient list on the packaged food when such a minor change is made. For purposes of this guidance, minor formulation changes should be consistent with the general factors listed below, as appropriate:
- Safety: the ingredient being substituted for the labeled ingredient does not cause any adverse health effect (including food allergens, gluten, sulfites, or other foods known to cause sensitivities in some people, for example, glutamates);
- Quantity: generally present at 2 percent or less by weight of the finished food;
- Prominence: the ingredient being omitted or substituted for the labeled ingredient is not a major ingredient in the product;
- Characterizing Ingredient: the ingredient being omitted or substituted for the labeled ingredient is not a characterizing ingredient; for example, omitting raisins, a characterizing ingredient in raisin bread;
- Claims: an omission or substitution of the ingredient does not affect any voluntary nutrient content or health claims on the label; and
- Nutrition/Function: an omission or substitution of the labeled ingredient does not have a significant impact on the finished product, including nutritional differences or functionality".