FDA Delays Federal Menu Nutritional Labeling Guidelines

Mar 30, 2011   

As we previously posted (here, here, and here), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) contains a provision that requires chain restaurants with at least 20 locations in the United States and vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to post calorie, fat, and other nutritional information of menu items. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was expected to present guidelines on new federal nutritional labeling requirements. However, as of Friday, the Agency was still working on the details. According to FDA spokesman Michael Herndon, “[w]e expect only a short delay, and it is a reflection of the complexity of this issue but most important an indication that the FDA is willing to work with all interested parties to ensure the best policy is presented.”

Currently, there are several different state and local menu-labeling laws, such as in New York City and California. The new federal nutritional labeling requirements will provide uniformity around the country. Many restaurant associations are backing the new menu labeling laws because it is easier to comply with one national standard than multiple state and local laws. At this point, affected parties are waiting for the FDA to announce the guidelines so they can review and respond to the FDA.

Fuerst Ittleman will continue to monitor the FDA for menu nutritional labeling guidelines. For more information on how this provision affects your business, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.