New FDA Menu Labeling Rules Will Not Take Effect Dec. 1

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Convenience store operators and other foodservice retailers will have longer than expected to comply with new federal menu-labeling regulations. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement on March 9 announcing that rather than enforce the regulations starting Dec. 1, it will wait until one year after the FDA publishes its final guidance.

The agency issued draft guidance for relevant businesses in September 2015 and is still considering the comments it received.

The FDA did not provide an expected date for final guidance, but stated that it would issue it as soon as possible.

"[The] FDA appreciates the extensive input received from stakeholders throughout the process of establishing requirements for menu labeling and in developing guidance," said Dr. Susan Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "We will work flexibly and cooperatively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule to facilitate compliance and will provide educational and technical assistance for covered establishments and for our state, local and tribal regulatory partners."

Enforcement was originally scheduled to begin Dec. 1, 2015, but was delayed by one year. The latest delay was prompted by an order from Congress to begin enforcement one year after issuing the final Level 1 guidance.

The regulations proposed under the draft guidance require that chain restaurants, similar retail food establishments (including convenience and grocery stores), and vending machines with 20 or more locations that serve substantially the same items list caloric information on their menus and menu boards. 

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