Legal Blog

Label Flexibility in the Food Packaging Industry

It may come as a surprise for many of you to know that despite various short supplies of food products we all have noticed in supermarkets during COVID-19, there exists a surplus of the same goods that we notice are missing from the stores. This has resulted in part from the differences in food labeling regulations that apply to retail food products versus supply to restaurants.

Distributors of food products to retail outlets must comply with various regulations of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with respect to the contents of their labels.

This message goes out to restaurants, distributors to restaurants and other distributors of food products to non-retail establishments which may be in possession of products with good shelf life normally destined for non-retail sales.

The FDA relaxed its nutrition labeling requirements at the end of March to enable restaurants and other similarly situated holders of food stock, ingredients and the like in order to enable those operations to put products on the market without the normally required nutritional labeling requirements for retail consumption.

More recently, the USDA, just yesterday announced a corresponding flexibility measure designed to allow those same market participants to sell stock into the retail markets without the normally required country of origin designation on the labels. The USDA measure touches products such as cut and ground meats, wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and ginseng. Sidebar: I find it interesting that ginseng is included in that list, I’ll have to investigate.

The gist is that the country of origin labeling rules for these products are suspended for 60 days starting on April 20, 2020.

This year has been the craziest of my existence so far, and I think many of us are in the same boat. Nevertheless, I’m online, and if you need to understand how these recent relaxations might allow you to move some stock to people who need it, feel free to contact me.

Stay safe out there!

For more information on this topic, please contact Scott Lloyd at


ABOUT SCOTT LLOYD | 301.575.0357

Scott Lloyd is a registered patent attorney who specializes in intellectual property counseling and commercialization work. He has served as a technology commercialization specialist and advisor to companies in a diverse array of markets, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food and beverage, specialty chemicals, technology, and engineering. In addition, Mr. Lloyd spent ten years as in-house general counsel to small and mid-sized companies, where he managed corporate matters and resolved commercial disputes in addition to intellectual property strategy, and now serves in the same capacity for entrepreneurial clients. He serves as counsel to small and mid-sized business owners seeking to implement growth strategies and succession plans.

While in house, Mr. Lloyd has also contributed to the successful formation of international affiliates of domestic businesses as well as a $400,000,000 business acquisition.




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