White House signals a delay in the agency’s final menu-labeling rule, set to take effect on May 5th
On April 28th, the U.S Food and Drug Administration submitted an interim final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget that signals a delay in the agency’s final menu-labeling rule, set to take effect on May 5. The FDA announced the submission but it has yet to be published. As soon as more information is forthcoming, NACS Daily will issue an alert.
UPDATE: On May 1st, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an Interim Final Rule entitled, Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments; Extension of Compliance Date; Request for Comments. In the Rule, FDA is extending the compliance date from May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2018. FDA indicates that they are taking this action to enable the Agency to consider how they might further reduce the regulatory burden or increase flexibility while continuing to achieve their regulatory objectives.
Earlier this month, NACS and the National Grocers Association submitted a petition to the FDA asking the agency to delay the final rule’s effective date. According to Politico Pro, the “apparent change in course” follows the collective efforts by NACS and NGA.
Initially released on November 25, 2014, the rule establishes menu-labeling requirements for chain restaurants and “similar retail food establishments.” Generally, establishments that are covered by the rule must post calories for standard menu items on menus or menu boards or, for self-service items and foods on display, on signs adjacent to the items, as well as provide additional written nutrition information to consumers upon request.
NACS has and continues to maintain that the menu-labeling regulations established by the FDA do not account for the varying approaches to foodservice between big-chain restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and delivery operations such as pizza chains.
The FDA’s regulations add unfair costs and compliance barriers to establishments with offerings that do not appear on a centralized “menu” board, and establishments that may have multiple coffee, frozen drink and food islands as opposed to the central ordering point in a traditional fast-food restaurant. The regulations also place a store or restaurant at risk for criminal penalties if it gives some customers larger servings than they expected based on the calorie information provided.
To provide a more practical and flexible approach among the various foodservice and retail establishments affected by the menu-labeling rule, NACS supports legislation introduced in both the previous and current Congress, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R 772/S. 261). NACS will continue to work with Congress and the administration to help ensure that the rules are revised so that they work for everyone.