The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently extended yet another deadline for cigar manufacturers and importers seeking approval under the government agency's strict new regulations. The cigar industry now has more time to submit its list of ingredients to the FDA.
When the agency published its Deeming Rule last year, one of the many conditions it laid out was that cigar manufacturers and importers must submit a list detailing each "ingredient" in the cigars they introduced to the marketplace after the predicate date of February 15, 2007.
The FDA has extended the deadline to submit ingredient lists by six months, meaning large companies now have until August 8 to submit while small-scale manufacturers must submit their lists by February 8, 2018. (The FDA defines a small-scale manufacturer to be a company that employs 150 or fewer full-time equivalent employees and has annual total revenues of $5 million or less.)
For cigars that were discontinued before August 8, 2016 and then reintroduced after that date and for entirely new cigars, manufacturers and importers must submit ingredient lists at least 90 days prior to when the cigars will be brought to market.
Cigarmakers are required to file an ingredient list for each different cigar brand introduced after February 15, 2007, including brand extensions, so long as the cigar was made using no chemical additives or substances other than water. (Flavored cigars must submit a much more detailed ingredient list.)
The FDA requires at least the following information be included in a premium cigar ingredient submission:
• The type of tobacco (burley, bright, oriental, etc.)
• The variety
• The curing method (e.g. flue, fire, sun, steam, air) and,
if applicable, the heat source (e.g. propane, wood)
• A description of any recombinant DNA technology used to engineer the tobacco
Additionally, cigarmakers are required to specify the "expected function" of each ingredient, such as whether the tobacco leaf will be wrapper, binder or filler, as well as quantify how much of an ingredient was used in the cigar.
This article first appeared in the January 10 edition of Cigar Insider.