Food

Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments and vending machines.

Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home. Making calorie information available will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families.

By Dr. Susan Mayne, Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

As a result of language in the omnibus appropriations bill enacted December 18, 2015 (Public Law 114-113 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016), FDA is delaying enforcement from December 1, 2016, to the date that is one year after it issues final, Level 1 guidance on menu labeling. The draft Level 1 guidance was issued on Sept. 11, 2015, and FDA is considering all comments received and will issue the final guidance as soon as possible.

FDA appreciates the extensive input received from stakeholders throughout the process of establishing requirements for menu labeling and in developing guidance. We will work flexibly and cooperatively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule to facilitate compliance and will provide educational and technical assistance for covered establishments and for our state, local, and tribal regulatory partners.

By Dr. Susan Mayne, Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a draft guidance document that will help companies to comply with the menu labeling final rule, which requires that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in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.

Statement from FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Michael R. Taylor, on Menu Labeling Extension of Compliance Date

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appreciates and takes very seriously the extensive input it has received from stakeholders throughout the process of establishing requirements for menu labeling in restaurants and other retail food establishments. The FDA is committed to working collaboratively with those establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule, including chain restaurants, covered grocery stores, and others to facilitate timely and efficient implementation of the new requirements.

Since the FDA issued the menu labeling final rule on December 1, 2014, the agency has had extensive dialogue with chain restaurants, covered grocery stores and other covered businesses, and answered numerous questions on how the rule can be implemented in specific situations. Industry, trade and other associations, including the grocery industry, have asked for an additional year to comply with the menu labeling final rule, beyond the original December 2015 compliance date. The FDA agrees additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses and for covered establishments to come into compliance with the final rule. The FDA is extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rule to December 1, 2016, for those covered by the rule.

To support compliance by this date, the FDA will continue to engage in discussions with the covered businesses and to answer questions about how the rule applies in particular situations. In addition, the FDA plans to issue in August 2015 a draft guidance document that provides answers to some of the more frequently asked and crosscutting questions that the agency has received to further assist covered establishments in complying with the rule. This guidance document will be labeled “draft” to reflect the FDA’s openness to further comments and dialogue and to expanding the guidance as new questions arise. The FDA encourages companies to consider the information in the August guidance as they prepare to comply by December 2016. There will be an opportunity for comment on the draft guidance and the FDA will review any comments received as quickly as possible.

In addition to the guidance, the FDA will also provide educational and technical assistance for the covered businesses and for our state, local, and tribal regulatory partners to support reasonable and consistent compliance nationwide. Now and following the December 1, 2016 compliance date, the FDA will work flexibly and collaboratively with individual companies making a good faith effort to comply with the law.

For more information, see the Federal Register Notice for the Compliance Date Extension.

Dockets provide information on the development of Federal regulations and other related documents issued by the U.S. government. You may view submitted comments on each rule in the dockets.

 

     

Page Last Updated: 03/09/2016
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