FDA extends compliance date for menu labeling rule

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving restaurants and other retail food establishments an extra year to comply with the new menu labeling rules the agency finalized last December.

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The new deadline is Dec. 1, 2016, FDA said today in a news release. FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor said that in extending the compliance period, the agency was responding to requests from the restaurant and grocery industries as well as trade associations. The original deadline was Dec. 1, 2015.

Under the new rules, chain restaurants must provide calorie information on menus and menu boards. The requirements also apply to vending machines, supermarket delis and convenience stores.

Taylor said the agency will issue a draft guidance document in August on compliance with the rule. The public will have an opportunity to comment on this draft guidance, he said.

FDA is enforcing nutrition labeling provisions included in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require restaurants that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations to provide calorie information for standard menu items, including food on display and self-service food.

The agency in 1994 required nutritional information be displayed on packaged food but exempted restaurants and other ready-to-eat establishments. The new rule affects about 300,000 retail food establishments.

The House Appropriations Committee included a one-year delay in the spending bill it approved last month for USDA and FDA.

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., introduced legislation earlier this year that would provide more exemptions to the menu labeling requirements, and ensure labeling requirements only apply to companies that make more than 50 percent of their revenue from selling prepared foods. 

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