NYC Won't Enforce Menu Labeling Until Federal Compliance Date

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NYC Won't Enforce Menu Labeling Until Federal Compliance Date

08/28/2017

NEW YORK — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), the Food Marketing Institute and the Restaurant Law Center have settled their lawsuit against New York City, which they filed over the city's intention to enforce the posting of calorie counts on restaurant menus ahead of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations going into effect.

Under terms of the Aug. 25 settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, New York City agreed not to fine or sanction businesses for alleged non-compliance with calorie and nutrient information menu-labeling requirements prior to the FDA's established May 7, 2018 compliance date.

A day prior to the announcement of the settlement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated that "additional, practical guidance on the menu-labeling requirements" would be available by the end of the year.

Both NACS and NYACS praised the settlement.

"This settlement with New York City is a clear victory for common sense. States and cities cannot enforce menu labeling rules until [FDA] rules are enforced. We're pleased that New York City has agreed not to jump the gun," said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president for government affairs, in a statement.

"There are good reasons for everyone to wait: It is increasingly clear that the federal regulations have real problems that must be fixed before they go into effect," he added. "A recent economic study confirmed that total costs for all of the industry under the rule will be more than triple the FDA estimate, at more than $300 million per year — and seven times the estimate for convenience stores."

Beckwith noted that according to an economic study released by NACS, routine calorie count variations would result in 93 percent of prepared foods being in violation of the FDA's rules, no matter how much businesses spend on compliance, as CSNews Online reported.

"We're relieved that common sense prevailed here. The attempt to prematurely implement this rule was clearly a governmental over-reach by the city of New York," added NYACS President James Calvin.

The lawsuit was filed in July. Following an Aug. 16 meeting between legal counsel for the plaintiffs, the city and the federal government, with presiding U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, New York City agreed to delay enforcement of the regulations to allow time for further discussion of potential solutions to the legal dispute.

Click here to read more from Convenience Store News sister publication Progressive Grocer.