FDA Further Delays Enforcement of Menu Labeling

Deadline to comply with labeling rules has been pushed from end of 2016 to one year after the FDA publishes final guidance

Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock

Years of delays has come from difficulties with balancing concerns of retailers with the intent of the law.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will once again delay the enforcement of menu labeling rules until next year. The rules will require restaurants, retailers, and other establishments with 20 or more locations that sell prepared foods to post the calorie content of food “clearly and conspicuously” on menus, menu boards, and displays, according to The Washington Post.

Years of delays for widespread enforcement have been the result of opposition from supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retailers with unique concerns that would make compliance a burden on their businesses.

The final rules were released in 2014, and restaurants and retailers had until the end of 2015 to comply. Last summer, the deadline was pushed to the end of 2016, and this month the deadline has been pushed back again, as language in a year-end spending bill from Congress has allowed the FDA to push compliance to a year after it publishes the final guidance. The agency is still working on the guidelines.

Robert Rosado of the Food Marketing Institute says the delay is understandable as the rules are complicated. “The anxiety is that they’re going to get it wrong,” says Rosado. “Maybe the font size isn’t right for their label or they rounded the calorie count the wrong way.”


The latest delay comes after the introduction of a new bill that would help to ease compliance for some businesses.