FDA Menu Labeling Goes into Effect

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance on an Obama era rule to require restaurants, including ready-to-eat food at grocery and convenience stores, to provide calorie counts on their menus. The change in statute was part of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010. Grocery and convenience stores were challenged to comply with the law, and industry groups have asked Congress to intervene to develop menu labeling rules that work for small businesses. The final rule, released on Monday, requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calories on their menus but does contain some wins for industry.

In a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the agency would be taking a “flexible approach to implementing the new provisions” and that the FDA would work “collaboratively” with impacted establishments. He also said that for the next year, the FDA will focus on helping restaurants come into compliance in order to give the industry time to make adjustments.

CDA will continue to lobby for passage of legislation which would allow for flexibility for food establishments with self-serve food and where the majority of orders are placed remotely. In the Senate, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017 was introduced by Senators Blunt (R-MO) and King (I-ME). The House passed a similar bill earlier this year.