Federally mandated menu-labeling legislation has hit yet another roadblock. After a last-minute reprieve from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the rule, which would require chains with 20 or more locations as well as supermarkets and convenience stores to post calorie counts on their menus, has been delayed until 2018.
The National Restaurant Association expressed disappointment with the delay just days before the scheduled effective date. “This delay upends plans that have been in motion for years throughout the food industry,” Cicely Simpson, executive vice president of government affairs & policy, said in a statement. “We will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of what is best for small businesses and American consumers.”
Opponents of menu labeling, including some chains, had petitioned the Trump administration to delay the rule. They proposed a new bill – the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act – which would cancel some of the federal menu-labeling mandates and allow restaurants to post their nutrition information online, rather than on pricey new menu boards. The bill has passed in the House but is awaiting a vote in the Senate.
Since the delay in May, the FDA has opened the menu-labeling regulations up for another round of public comments, asking for feedback on how to reduce regulatory burden, increase flexibility and how best to post calorie and nutrition information other than through use of in-store menu boards.