By: Dana Mullen, Regulatory Counsel, Food Marketing Institute

Legal ConferenceThe food retail industry has experienced several years of new rulemakings and other regulatory actions on a scale unlike previous regulatory environments. In addition to the industry-supported Food Safety Modernization Act, new regulations cover a wide range of topics, including labor and wages, nutrition labeling, and environmental issues, among others. As the new administration confirms key agency posts and moves forward with a new regulatory agenda, we are left questioning what is in store for the grocery industry. This was one of the many topics discussed at the FMI Legal Conference that just wrapped up in Austin, TX.

Specifically, during the Forecasting Food Policy in the New Administration session sponsored by Polsinelli, speakers discussed the regulatory and legislative agenda in the next four years. Panelists Stuart Pape of Polsinelli and Randy Russell of the Russell Group addressed many questions regarding regulatory outlook and potential legislation impacting food policy. One of the more predominant questions of the session was whether the Trump White House will want to have a role in food and nutrition policy and, if so, what will that role be? The panelists agreed that the Trump administration will have less of a hands-on approach to food policy than the Obama administration; however, Stuart Pape indicated that historically when Federal agencies back off the State agencies quickly fill the void. As such, it will be important to monitor state legislation and regulations in upcoming months.

While the regulatory outlook in some areas remains uncertain, members are busy developing compliance programs for those rules with upcoming compliance dates. One of these is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) menu labeling regulation, which has a rapidly approaching compliance date of May 5.

Learn more on menu labeling with Compliance & Enforcement: The Nuts & Bolts of Menu Labeling