WASHINGTON – As of today, the Food and Drug Administration’s “menu labeling” rule is in effect. Retailers, who share a store name with at least 19 other stores, must begin labeling the caloric content of any prepared foods in their stores. This includes self-serve beverage, such as soda fountains and coffee.
The rule has been delayed for a number of years by both FDA’s only action and/or Congressional direction, but is now in effect. FDA has indicated that they are not intending to sanction any retailers for violations for the first year of the new rule but rather treat that time as an educational period. However, retailers in states and localities that have passed their own identical or nearly identical rules, such as California and New York City, should be aware that those localities are able to enforce their rules beginning today as well. Those jurisdictions are not restricted by the FDA’s plan to treat this year as educational.
In the meantime, NACS GR staff are continuing to work with FDA and congressional allies to continue to get changes to the rule which would make compliance less burdensome on convenience retailers. Legislation that would have amended the rule passed the House earlier this year with a bipartisan majority. The Common-Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act would make compliance make sense in different retail channels. Efforts to move the legislation in the Senate have been stymied by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who is ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation in the body.
While that legislation remains pending before the United States Senate, retailers covered by the rule should be complying with the rule as of today. NACS members can visit the NACS Menu Labeling Compliance page where they can access a document that helps outline retailers’ requirements under this rule. Furthermore, this morning the FDA released its latest round of guidance on the rule which can be found HERE.