FDA is again extending the compliance date for menu labeling – just days before the regulatory requirements of § 101.11 were to have become effective. On May 4, 2017, the agency will publish an interim final rule that extends the compliance date from May 5, 2017, to May 7, 2018, and that opens a 60-day comment period on implementation of the menu labeling requirements.
Covered restaurants and similar retail food establishments originally were to have provided calorie information about standard menu items on menus and menu boards by December 1, 2015. That compliance date subsequently was extended to December 1, 2016, then to May 5, 2017, and (for) now to May 7, 2018. (See OFW Law prior articles about menu labeling here, here, here, here, and here.)
The extension is intended to allow for further consideration of what opportunities there may be to reduce costs and enhance the flexibility of the menu labeling requirements, consistent with the Trump administration’s general policy. Comments specifically are requested on:
- Calorie disclosure signage for self-service foods, including buffets and grab-and-go foods;
- Methods for providing calorie disclosure information other than on the menu itself, including how different kinds of retailers might use different methods; and
- Criteria for distinguishing between menus and other information presented to the consumer.
While covered establishments have been investing towards menu labeling compliance for some time now, this extension and the re-opened comment period provide a new opportunity to address any troubling aspects of the December 1, 2014, final rule.