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FDA Menu Labeling Rule Developments

Krista Fredrick March 31, 2014 0
FDA Menu Labeling Rule Developments

A bipartisan group of 24 House members sent a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, on Feb. 14, 2014. It was urging the FDA to consider alternatives to its proposed menu labeling rule, arguing that the FDA’s proposal is too stringent and would be a burden on small businesses.  The proposed rule would require the listing of calories for food on menus of chain restaurants with at least 20 locations, and a companion rule setting similar requirements for vending machines.

The idea of menu labeling is to make sure that consumers process the calorie information as they determine what to eat. Most restaurants and quick service restaurants such as Chick-fil-a, Starbuck’s, and McDonald’s post calorie information on the menu board. Menus, as well as, menu boards will also tell consumers that a 2,000-calorie diet is used for the nutritional basis, however, an individual’s calorie need

For other businesses in the industry such as pizzerias, the menu labeling rule is more of a challenge and is unrealistic as there are more than 34 million ways to order a pizza. A group of pizzeria chains is trying to request more flexibility within the ruling so that they can accommodate consumer orders as not to impact their bottom line.s may vary.

The proposed regulation has also drawn concern from grocery stores as they have a wide availability of fresh products that change daily, and most other products sold contain nutritional information already.  Subjecting grocery stores to a law that is intended for chain restaurants will only increase costs and regulatory burdens on grocers.

The FDA proposed new labeling requirements for restaurants in April 2011 which were authorized by the Affordable Care Act. The FDA was supposed to finalize the ruling in February 2014. However, the agency is still reviewing comments from over 900 restaurants, retail food stores, and other companies in the business impacted by the regulation. It is likely that a decision will not be finalized until the end of the year.

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