The Food and Drug Administration has pushed the deadline for chain restaurants and movie theaters to disclose calorie counts on menus, the organization announced Thursday, July 9.
The calorie count ruling, which was made final in December 2014, initially gave the restaurant industry a year to comply, with a deadline of December 2015.
“Industry, trade and other associations, including the grocery industry, have asked for an additional year to comply with the menu labeling final rule, beyond the original December 2015 compliance date,” the FDA announced.
“The FDA agrees additional time is necessary for the agency to provide further clarifying guidance to help facilitate efficient compliance across all covered businesses and for covered establishments to come into compliance with the final rule. The FDA is extending the compliance date for the menu labeling rule to December 1, 2016, for those covered by the rule.”
The FDA has also pledged to issue a “draft guidance document” by August to help businesses comply with the new rule. There has already been some criticism of the delay. Detractors suggest that the additional year would be crucial for lobbyists who oppose the calorie count rule, giving them time to fight it.
“This is a huge victory for the restaurant lobbyists,” food studies professor and public health advocate Marion Nestle told The New York Times. “Food companies must be hoping that if they can delay menu labeling long enough, it will just go away.” Others, meanwhile, have said that the extra time will indeed give businesses room to deal with the long and bureaucratic process.