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FDA Changes Mind on Menu Labeling Compliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is walking back its clarification that the compliance deadline for the federal menu labeling rule went into effect Dec. 1, despite the agency's enforcement date not occurring until May 5, 2017.

The agency announced on Dec. 2 that it will issue a new rule moving the compliance date to match the enforcement date.

Previously, foodservice retailers would still have been subject to enforcement of the ruling on the state or local level, as CSNews Online reported.

"Once this new rule is published, convenience stores nationwide will no longer be in jeopardy of private lawsuits, and c-stores in California will no longer be at risk of state or local enforcement of the state's own statute, prior to May 5, 2017," NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, said in an e-mailed statement following the announcement. "While this is welcome news, it certainly does not solve the underlying problems with the rule itself."

C-stores in California were particularly vulnerable to early enforcement of the ruling, as the state passed its own statue that mirrors the FDA rules.

This reversal came in response to pressure brought by NACS and other industry allies, who noted that the FDA's expectation that retailers were to comply starting Dec. 1 conflicted with previous communications in which the agency indicated the May enforcement date was the deadline that mattered.

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