WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday issued guidance on the Obama administration’s menu labeling rule, “all but ensuring that the oft-delayed rule will finally take effect, nearly eight years after Congress initially called for it,” reports Politico.
The news source says that FDA’s draft guidance, which NACS is currently reviewing, is an effort by FDA to find middle ground in the contentious debate over the rule.
The news source suggests that the guidance is intended to provide more flexibility to restaurants, convenience retailers and pizza chains by offering more options for how to label calories on their menus, such as allowing a single placard to be placed at a buffet bar, instead of requiring that each item be labeled individually.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that the draft guidance issued yesterday is in “direct response to the comments we got on our menu labeling regulation. …“Supermarket and convenience store managers with self-service buffets or beverage stations asked whether they needed to have an individual sign next to each item with a calorie declaration. While this is one way to comply with the regulation, our draft guidance offers other practical ways to post calories for multiple items on a single sign.”
Menu labeling was initially passed by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act, and was delayed multiple times during the Obama administration. The Trump administration delayed it again, shortly before it was set to take effect in May of this year. The current compliance date is May 7, 2018.