FDA Delays Menu Labeling Rule for a Year
On December 1, 2014, the FDA issued its menu labeling rule, which requires businesses with 20 or more locations selling “restaurant-type food” to publish calorie and other nutrition information for “standard menu items, including food on display and self-service food.” This rule was required to implement the nutrition-labeling provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which were developed as a way to help combat the obesity problem in the United States. All covered establishments had until December 1, 2015, to comply with the rule. However, since the FDA issued the rule, numerous chain restaurants, grocery stores, and other covered establishments voiced concerns about their ability to comply in the time prescribed. In response to these concerns, the FDA announced on July 9, 2015, that it was extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rule to December 1, 2016.
Food industry companies requested the extension citing the need for more time to retrain staff, design new menus, and to develop new information systems to assist in efficiently complying with the rule. In its statement announcing the extension of time, the FDA explained that it “agrees additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses and for covered establishments to come into compliance with the final rule.” The FDA intends on publishing a draft guidance document to assist covered establishments in complying with the rule. The FDA also explained that the guidance document will be labeled “draft” so as to further comments and dialogue and allow the guidance to be revised and expanded as necessary. That document should be issued in August 2015.
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