To facilitate the distribution of food during the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA released a guidance document on March 26 to provide restaurants and food manufacturers with flexibility regarding nutrition labeling of certain packaged food. The document, “Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency,” will help restaurants and food manufacturers distribute dairy products and other food ingredients to retail establishments during the outbreak.

In short, this means products destined for foodservice can go to retail without repackaging and/or relabeling, the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said. IDFA, along with its partners in the Food & Beverage Issue Alliance, has been working with FDA on a few priority issues related to ensuring the stability of the food supply through the COVID-19 outbreak.

“FDA’s recent work to help restaurants and food manufacturers divert products originally meant for foodservice to retail will help keep grocery store shelves and food banks stocked in this time when consumers are eating almost exclusively at home,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “IDFA is grateful for the government’s flexibility to ensure our nation’s critical food infrastructure can continue to provide safe, nutritious, high-quality dairy products to consumers.

“It bears repeating — the U.S. dairy industry is experiencing no major interruptions, and that is due in large part to this sort of collaboration between industry and government and the hard work of the men and women up and down the dairy supply chain,” Dykes added.

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