FDA Postpones Menu Labeling Rule Again

FDA Postpones Menu Labeling Rule Again

On May 1, 2017, FDA announced it was extending the compliance date for the menu labeling final rule from May 5, 2017, to May 7, 2018. The rule requires calorie information to be listed on menus and menu boards of restaurants and other retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, do business under the same name, and offer for sale substantially the same menu items. Compliance with the 2014 final rule has been postponed several times. The final rule was originally set to go into effect in December 1, 2015, but implementation was initially delayed amid complaints the rule was too broad and inflexible.

Then, the omnibus appropriations bill for 2016 required FDA to postpone the December 2016 compliance date until one year after the agency finalized its draft Level 1 guidance on menu labeling. The guidance was finalized in May 2016, and the final rule was set for compliance on May 5, 2017.

In the interim final rule that FDA published on May 4, 2017, extending the compliance date, FDA requested comments, stating it was particularly interested in "hearing about approaches to reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility with respect to: (1) Calorie disclosure signage for self-service foods, including buffets and grab-and-go foods; (2) methods for providing calorie disclosure information other than on the menu itself, including how different kinds of retailers might use different methods; and (3) criteria for distinguishing between menus and other information presented to the consumer." Comments are due July 3, 2017.

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