1. National GMO labeling
GMO labeling got its day on Capitol Hill (but not in the way many had hoped) as federal lawmakers sought to stop Vermont’s own law that was set to go into effect in July. Some hail that the nation now has labeling. Others say it is an end-run around state’s rights and a win for Big Food because the resulting "label" likely won’t appear as an easy-to-read, on-package solution. The law requires disclosure with a symbol or digital link with wording such as "scan here for more food information."
2. Local GMO control
While state GMO labeling laws took a hit in July, local growing bans received a boost in December when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that federal law does not prevent state or local governments regulating or banning commercial GM crops.
3. New Dietary Ingredients draft guidance
In August, the long awaited—or nearly forgotten—Draft NDI Guidance was published—five years after the first version was released in 2011 and 22 years after being mandated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. With the mandate, manufacturers of any new dietary ingredients (NDIs are defined as dietary ingredients not in market distribution pre-1996) are required to file the ingredient with—and receive approval from—the FDA before releasing them to the market. The latest draft clarified many points left uncertain in the 2011 version.
The jury appears to be out on the resulting document. The draft offers protections for branded ingredients but strict provisions regarding synthetic botanicals. Some say it is status quo, while others suggest it goes too far. Industry groups have opposed the document.
4. 365 by Whole Foods Market
The oft-cited face of the natural products industry got a new look in 2016 with the launch of 365 by Whole Foods Market. The supernatural retailer birthed the millennial-focused concept in response to sagging stock performance. Expect the true test of its strategy to take shape in 2017, as the chain plans to open at least 10 365 by Whole Foods locations.
5. The new Nutrition Facts
Michelle Obama unveiled the new Nutrition Facts panel in May. The new panel will feature larger type for calories and serving sizes, updated serving size and daily values, an added sugars line, changes in nutrients required and actual amounts shown, and a new footnote. Manufacturers must adopt the label by July 26, 2018. Companies with less than $10 million in sales have an additional year.