U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration renewals are still happening until the end of December, and it is important for food and drug businesses to maintain efficient and up-to-date facilities to meet the FDA’s regulations. But this year there is a whole new factor to consider for many facilities that will be affected by the new FDA ruling that was finalized at the end of November. The new FDA ruling states that if a chain establishment has over 20 locations, it is now required to post calorie listings on their menus. The regulation goes beyond just listing caloric information on food and now includes alcoholic beverages as well. With only a year to comply with the new regulation, breweries supplying to locations such as restaurants, bars or movie theaters will be under heavier scrutiny when it comes to addressing calorie information about brews sold on tap.
This new regulation might not mean much for mass breweries that have been encouraged to compete with lower and lower calorie counts, but for smaller microbreweries, this larger emphasis on caloric in-take could be a big deal. There are several ways retailers could obtain calorie information, but the general assessments provided by USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference could either inflate the number of calories or misrepresent the number by providing a general count that is much lower than the actual calorie count. Either way, this creates a new stress for retailers and providing the most accurate calorie count is important to avoid fines from the FDA as well.
According to the American Brewers Association, there was a 15 percent increase in craft breweries across the country in 2013 and craft brewers reached 7.8 percent volume of the total U.S. beer market. That means there could be a lot more brewers affected by FDA regulations such as mandatory caloric information reporting. But companies like Zajac LLC help brewers comply with these regulations.
Established in 1975, Zajac provides high quality process systems and packing solutions for the food, dairy, beverage, personal care, and pharmaceutical industries. The Maine-based company originally began as a mechanical contractor that specialized in dairy piping systems. As Zajac expanded, it began to incorporate other food and drug industry branches and developed other engineering components. The company was incorporated in 2003 and has offices clustered throughout the Northeast.
One of Zajac’s expanded specialties is providing innovative engineering and efficient solutions for liquid processing facilities such as breweries. From small microbreweries to large brew-houses, Zajac can increase plant capacity and improve safety and maintenance procedures, but most significantly, the company engineers, implements and automates processing machinery that accommodates the company’s supply and demand while maintaining the quality of the beer.
Zajac services such as conveyor installation and piping, as well as maintenance, seal replacement, calibration and others have been helping microbreweries around the Northeast meet FDA and industry standards. Although industry professionals do not see a need for breweries to change or update their labeling systems to reflect the FDA calorie count ruling, some breweries may seize the opportunity to report their caloric information for retailers for draft beers, rather than waiting for them to find general measures that could misreport the actual numbers.
Delivering quality products is the top concern for both manufacturer and retailer, but companies like Zajac can help ensure quality products are being produced and meeting industry and regulatory standards.
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