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FDA Extends Menu-labeling Rule Timeline

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a one-year delay to the date when restaurants – and those the agency deems "similar retail food establishments," including supermarkets – would be required to apply its final chain-restaurant-menu-labeling rule. The rule requires the listing of calorie information on menus and menu boards. Although heartened by the move, food industry representatives still expressed concerns about complying with the regulation.

"We're encouraged that FDA's commitment will give us more time to at least garner some clarity and answers without feeling rushed to make difficult business decisions in an attempt to comply by Dec. 1, 2015, with regulations that are unclear," said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute.

"Independent supermarket operators work hard each and every day to build and maintain their consumers' trust by providing information and transparency on the food products they serve,” noted Greg Ferrara, VP of public affairs for the National Grocers Association, also based in Arlington. "While NGA appreciates the FDA recognizing the need for a delay, there are still are concerns surrounding implementation of the law."

Both trade organizations said they would continue to work with federal lawmakers on getting the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (H.R. 2017) passed. According to Ferrara, the proposed legislation "reduces the burdens of this regulation and provides the necessary reforms and flexibility to our members."

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