FDA Extends Menu Labeling Compliance Date


Chain restaurants now have another year before they must comply with new federal regulations that require the disclosure of caloric value and supplementary health criteria of beer, as well as other food and drinks, sold on-premise.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today extended the compliance date for the new rules, which apply to restaurants and foodservice establishments with 20 or more locations, from December 1st of this year to December 1st, 2016.

In its decision summary, the FDA said it has received numerous requests from retailers seeking not only more time to comply with the new standards, but also asking for clarification on portions of the rule and asking whether specific practices are amenable.

The new set of rules, which among other things require written nutritional information for standard menu items to be available for consumers who ask to see it, are meant to help the customer make “informed and healthful dietary choices,” the FDA wrote in its summary.

“Therefore, allowing adequate time for covered establishments to fully implement the final rule’s requirements… helps accomplish the primary objective of the final rule and is in the public interest,” the agency said.

The FDA said it will provide a draft guidance document “that provides answers to some of the more frequently asked and crosscutting questions” posed by stakeholders sometime this August.

Last year, the FDA told Brewbound that the new regulations would not impact craft beer manufacturers specifically, adding that retailers, not brewers, would be accountable for gathering the health information of a given product. Despite that, the Brewers Association warned in May that brewers must “be ready or lose sales.”

“While the onus rests with the restaurant chains, it is easy to foresee that companies may drop brands that do not have this information readily available,” wrote Paul Gatza, director of the BA, on the organization’s blog. “If you don’t know your nutrient values and do business in chain restaurants now or plan to in the future, now is the time to start gathering your information.”

Brewers now though have a bit more time to prepare.