FDA Extends Deadline for Menu Labeling Law

fdaThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted restaurants and other chain foodservice retailers an extra year to comply with regulations that will see such establishments list calorie counts on their menus. The FDA announced the extension Thursday, with FDA deputy commissioner for foods Michael Taylor telling The Wall Street Journal the additional time was needed “for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance.”

The labeling regulations, which came as an extension of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, apply to food retailers with 20 or more locations and extends beyonds restaurants to include supermarkets, convenience stores and even movie theaters. The widespread calorie-listing regulations drew the ire of trade groups like the National Grocers Association and National Association of Convenience Stores at the time of their announcement last November, with NACS senior vice president of government relations Lyle Beckwith saying the FDA’s “one-size fits all approach would treat convenience stores as though they are restaurants, when in fact they operate very differently.”

In a press release issued Friday, the NACS called the delay “positive news” but said “there are still many unanswered questions about how the rule, written for the fast food industry, would be logically applied to our chain of retail and the FDA is months behind schedule in offering its official guidance on compliance.” A similar sentiment was expressed by the National Grocers Association in their response to the extension.

Food purveyors now have until December 16, 2016 to be in compliance with the menu-labeling law.