Earlier this week, it was announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would extend the compliance date for menu labeling requirements. Now--despite the one-year extension--foodservice operators are moving forward with their efforts despite compliance not being required until May 7, 2018. The menu labeling law is part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
The new law places the onus on restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, coffee shops and businesses that sell prepared foods to display calorie counts on both menus and packaged food labels. Originally, the compliance date was set for this week--May 5, 2017. The law is mainly applicable to businesses that boast 20 or more locations.
The extension, according to FDA, allows the agency to find more affordable and flexible ways to make compliance a bit easier for all involved. The compliance deadline for this menu labeling rule was also previously delayed in 2015 and 2016.
However, the delay comes a bit late for food companies that already spent the time and money (in terms of employee training, caloric testing and new menu/label printing) to get in line with regulations they thought would be legally required in just a matter of days. Thus, companies are moving forward with new labeling despite having an additional year to comply.
FDA is accepting public comments on how to improve the menu labeling rule. A 60-day comment period will begin on May 4, 2017.
Comments can be submitted online via http://www.regulations.gov. Written comments can be sent to:
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
All comments should be identified with Docket No. FDA-2011-F-0172 for “Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments; Extension of Compliance Date and Request for Comments.”