FDA Announces Delay in Menu-Labeling Effective Date

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally acknowledged a delay in the Dec. 1, 2016, effective date for enforcement of federal menu-labeling regulations. In its public statement, the agency said the federal menu-labeling rule won’t be enforced until one year after it publishes final guidance on the law.

As you may recall, the menu labeling rule requires caloric information to be included on the menus and menu boards of “covered food establishments,” defined as being a part of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering substantially the same menu items. While the final rule was published in 2014, FDA is also required to publish formalized guidance that helps show companies how to comply with the law; draft guidance was issued in September 2015 but final guidance has yet to be released.

In last December’s spending bill, Congress delayed enforcement of the menu labeling rule until one year after FDA published guidance. However, until yesterday the FDA had not formally confirmed that change. In its statement yesterday, FDA officials said not only would the agency delay enforcement until one year after guidance is issued, but that the guidance language is expected to be published sometime this year.

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