Calorie Counts on Menus: Delayed Until 2016

Posted By: Selerant RSA


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended the compliance date for the Final Rule requiring disclosure of certain nutrition information for menus. 

When do you need to become compliant?

Restaurants and similar retail food establishments now have until December 1, 2016 to become compliant with the rule requiring standard menu items to have nutrition labeling. The initial compliance date for the Final Rule (issued December 2014), was December 1, 2015.

Who should comply?

As explained in our previous article, FDA’s final rule requires restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items to provide calorie and other nutrition information for standard menu items, including food on display and self-service food. 

FDA Additional Guidance

The FDA has agreed to provide the additional time in order to provide clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses. FDA has announced that it will continue to engage in discussions with the businesses covered by the rule and that it will answer questions on how the rule applies in particular situations.

The FDA plans to issue a draft guidance document in August 2015 providing answers to some of the more frequently asked and crosscutting questions it has received so far. The FDA also plans to provide educational and technical assistance for affected businesses and for FDA’s state and local regulatory partners to support reasonable and consistent compliance nationwide.  

What is the purpose of this rule?

According to FDA, the final rule requirements are intended to ensure that consumers are provided accurate, clear, and consistent nutrition information for foods sold in businesses covered by the rule. This should be done in a direct and accessible manner enabling consumers to make informed and healthful dietary choices

What did the businesses say?

FDA has explained that the businesses have been submitting requests to delay the compliance date in order be able to develop software, information systems, and other technologies for providing nutrition information to allow for more efficient and product-specific nutrition labeling for foods sold in establishments covered by the rule.

Need to make sense of all the legal requirements for food labeling? US Labeling Guidelines are regularly made up-to-date in our RegData database.

For more information:

Federal Register Notice for the Compliance Date Extension

Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements for Restaurants and Vending Machines