The Food and Drug Administration has pushed the effective date for a new federal menu-labeling regulation for chain restaurants and similar foodservice establishments to Dec. 1, 2016, the agency announced today. Restaurants scrambling to comply now have another year to organize. The FDA had originally set Dec. 1, 2015, as the compliance date but said today that it is extending the compliance date in response to requests and in order to further clarify the rule's requirements. The FDA issued a Constituent Update and a regulatory announcement today. The formal announcement will be published in the July 10 Federal Register.
- Who's covered: The regulations apply to restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations operating under the same name and serving substantially the same menu items. Smaller restaurants can choose to comply voluntarily. The law requires covered establishments to post calories for standard menu items, and provide guests with additional nutrition information upon request.
- What's next: The FDA is preparing additional guidance to help restaurateurs and other covered establishments understand how to implement the law. The agency released extensive regulations last November but significant questions remain. The agency is expected to release more guidance later this summer.
- NRA position: The National Restaurant Association has long supported a nationwide, uniform menu-labeling standard for chain restaurants that provides flexibility for restaurants and preempts a patchwork of state and local laws. As the FDA prepares further guidance, we continue to work with the agency to address issues of concern for the restaurant industry and ensure a smooth transition for restaurants and consumers alike.