FDA Delays Menu Labeling Enforcement


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced plans to delay enforcement of its new menu-labeling regulations until 2017.

In a statement, Dr. Susan Mayne, who joined the FDA last January as the new director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said the organization opted to move enforcement from December 1, 2016, to “the date that is one year after it issues final, Level 1 guidance,” as a result of language in the omnibus appropriations bill enacted by Congress on December 18, 2015.

The new menu labeling rules require restaurants and foodservice establishments with more than 20 locations to disclose the caloric value and supplementary health criteria of beer, as well as other food and drinks, sold on-premise.

Calling the decision to push enforcement into 2017 a “wise move,” Brewers Association director Paul Gatza said the final guidance could be released in the spring or summer.

“This time frame allows chain restaurants to make their plans in a well thought out manner after final guidance,” he wrote on the organization’s blog.

The FDA, however, has not said when final guidance will be issued.

Alcoholic beverages rank fifth in a list of the top 25 food sources of calories among adult Americans ages 19 years and older, according to the FDA.

As Brewbound reported last September, new menu labeling rules could cost brewers thousands of dollars annually. Smaller suppliers hoping to stay on tap at popular chain accounts like Yard House or Buffalo Wild Wings will likely be responsible for supplying an accurate nutritional analysis for their products. Those test can cost companies as much as $1,000 per item.