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The FDA Extends Menu Labeling Compliance Date to 2018

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On Monday, May 1, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was extending the compliance date for its final rule governing menu labeling requirements from May 5, 2017 to May 7, 2018. The rule, originally included as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and published in the Federal Register in December 2014, requires disclosure of certain nutrition information for standard menu items in certain restaurants and retail food establishments.

The FDA's interim final rule provides that the FDA is extending the compliance date to May 2018 to enable the agency to consider how it might further reduce regulatory burdens and increase flexibility while continuing to achieve its regulatory objectives, in keeping with the Trump Administration's policies. The FDA specifically noted that it does not "want to proceed with a rule that might turn out to be too inflexible to support innovation in delivering information to consumers."

As part of the interim final rule, the FDA is opening a 60-day public comment period, starting May 4, to solicit feedback regarding the compliance date extension, and overall implementation of the final rule. Particularly, the FDA is seeking public comment relating to (1) calorie disclosure signage for self-service foods, including buffets and grab-and-go foods; (2) methods for providing calorie disclosure information other than on the menu itself, including how different kinds of retailers might use different methods and (3) criteria for distinguishing between menus and other information presented to the consumer.

The interim final rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on May 4.

For more information about how this issue may affect your business or related matters, please contact the author of this alert, Kyle Diamantas, or any member of the Firm's FDA Group.

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