• FDA Extends Compliance Date for Menu Labeling Rule to December 1, 2016
  • July 15, 2015 | Authors: Melvin S. Drozen; Alissa D. Jijon; Evangelia C. Pelonis
  • Law Firm: Keller and Heckman LLP - Washington Office
  • On December 1, 2014, FDA published a final rule to implement the menu labeling provisions added to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by the Affordable Care Act.[1] Under the new requirements, restaurants or similar retail food establishments (in chains of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and selling substantially similar menu items) must provide calorie and other nutrition information for standard menu items. In March 2015, FDA released a small entity compliance guide to help the industry understand the scope and coverage of the rule and compliance dates, as well as specifics of the new requirements.[2] The menu labeling requirements originally were scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2015.

    On July 9, 2015, FDA announced that it will extend the compliance date for the menu labeling rule to December 1, 2016.[3] In explaining the reason for the extension, FDA noted its extensive dialogue with covered entities and requests from industry, trade, and other associations to grant additional time for compliance. FDA agreed that additional time is necessary for the Agency to provide further clarifying guidance and to help facilitate efficient compliance.

    FDA plans to issue a draft guidance document in August 2015 that is intended to provide answers to frequently asked questions about how covered establishments should comply with applicable requirements. The Agency encourages companies to consider the information in the draft guidance as they prepare for compliance by December 2016.

    [1] See 79 Fed. Reg. 71156 (Dec. 1, 2014), available at, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-01/pdf/2014-27833.pdf.

    [2] See Guidance for Industry: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments; Small Entity Compliance Guide, available at, http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm437403.htm.

    [3] See FDA Statement on Extension of Menu Labeling Compliance Date, July 9, 2015, available at, http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm453529.htm; see also 80 Fed. Reg. 39675 (Jul. 10, 2015), available at, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-07-10/pdf/2015-16865.pdf.