Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition - Constituent Update
FDA Statement on Release of Menu Labeling Guidance
By Dr. Susan Mayne, Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
September 11, 2015
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a draft guidance document that will help companies to comply with the menu labeling final rule, which requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations. In July, FDA extended the compliance date an additional year, beyond the original December 2015 compliance date, to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered establishments. The guidance document issued today is an important resource in our efforts to assist those in covered establishments to comply with the rule by December 1, 2016. Ultimately, consumers will be able to make more informed choices for themselves and their families.
We appreciate the extensive input we have received from stakeholders throughout the process of establishing requirements for menu labeling in certain restaurants and other retail food establishments. The guidance document responds to many of the most frequently asked questions that the agency has received to date in emails and during meetings with and presentations to representatives of the range of establishments covered by the new menu labeling rule. These interactions have been invaluable.
This guidance is intended to help establishments implement the rule and better understand the flexibility in the rule. The guidance also answers questions and helps explain how the final requirements work for different types of establishments. The guidance does not and cannot change the final requirements of the menu labeling rule.
The guidance is being issued as a “draft” and we welcome your comments. We will consider all comments before finalizing the guidance and will consider updates to the guidance as needed. We are committed to working collaboratively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule, including chain restaurants, covered grocery stores serving restaurant-type food, and others, now and in the future, to answer additional questions. In addition, we will be providing educational and technical assistance for covered establishments and for our state, local, and tribal regulatory partners to support consistent compliance nationwide.
We encourage covered establishments to consider the information in this draft guidance as they prepare to comply with the final rule by December 2016. We will work flexibly and cooperatively with individual companies making a good faith effort to comply. We believe that this cooperative approach helps to improve the dialogue surrounding the requirements and facilitates successful implementation in a practical way.
As a result of these efforts, consumers will have ready access to calorie information they currently may not have to help them make healthy decisions. That’s a worthy outcome of which we can all be proud.
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