The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance on the menu-labeling rule that requires companies to post calorie information on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations.
NATSO is currently reviewing the draft document and will summarize its findings in more detail in the coming days as well as submit comments to FDA. It's important to note that draft guidance is issued for comment purposes only and is not finalized for implementation.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said issuing the draft guidance was in direct response to industry comments on the menu-labeling regulation. FDA’s previous attempts to issue menu-labeling guidance have failed to clarify critical industry concerns, however.
NATSO, along with restaurants and food retailers, has urged FDA to revise the menu-labeling rule to make it easier for the industries to comply with the regulation to provide accurate nutritional information to customers as well as eliminate the possibility of criminal penalties for violations.
Organizations joining NATSO in that effort include the American Pizza Community, Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), National Grocers Association (NGA), and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA).
The associations have independently filed extensive comments with the agency providing strong evidence for the need to rewrite key aspects of the rule to make it workable. In Sept. the groups also sent a letter to the agency urging it to revise the rule.
Comments from the groups include specific examples of provisions that must be fixed as well as a detailed economic analysis of the real-world impact of the rule and demonstrate that without changes the rule will be three times as expensive to implement as the agency originally forecast.
NATSO submitted its comments Aug 2. to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after the agency solicited public comment on how the Final Rule could be improved in the wake of a May 1 announcement that the compliance date would be delayed until May 7, 2018.
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