Rushing to Disclose Calories? Never Mind for Now
Does the FDA's delay mean we have a whole year to eat that 750-calorie muffin and pretend it's a mere 100?
Restaurants and other food sellers had until this Friday, May 5, to disclose calories on their menus, but heavy last-minute lobbying by grocery stores, convenience stores and pizza chains caused the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to delay enforcement—until next year, May 7, 2018.
So says an alert sent today by Gray Plant Mooty law firm, which notes the FDA has requested public comment over the next 60 days about how to reduce the regulatory burden. The feds want comments on calorie disclosure for self-service foods, including buffets and grab-and-go; methods for calorie disclosure other than on the menu itself; and criteria for distinguishing between menus and other information presented to the consumer.
The FDA rules, which were seven years in the making and required restaurants, supermarket and convenience store chains with more than 20 locations to post calorie counts on their menus, led to a flurry of expense and activity among franchisors and franchisees to comply by the deadline.
Also, a bill called the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act “might change some of the disclosure requirements imposed by the FDA’s rules,” the Gray Plant Mooty alert said. “This bill would loosen calorie disclosures for foods with variable serving sizes and would also allow companies that do most of their business online to disclose calories on their online menus only.” The House passed the bill; the Senate has yet to vote on it, according to Gray Plant Mooty.